What is better for reading comprehension? Screen or paper?

What the research says….

What does the research state about children reading on screens versus reading on paper? I found this paper very interesting when becoming certified as in tech addiction and digital health from the NIDHW. After taking the first certification course through PESI, I learned a lot from Glow Kids author, Nicholas Kardaras. I found the research written about reading comprehension fascinating since I always prefer to read from a paper text versus a screen text.

“Clinton decided to delve into at all the studies published since 2008 about reading on screens. She compiled results from 33 high-quality studies that tested students’ comprehension after they were randomly assigned to read on a screen or on paper and found that her students might be right. The studies showed that students of all ages, from elementary school to college, tend to absorb more when they’re reading on paper than on screens, particularly when it comes to nonfiction material. Sometimes you should print it out, especially if it’s long,” said Clinton.” (Clinton, 2019)

To learn more about this study and learn about NIDHW, click here.

How should we interpret this?

With digital texts readily available and affordable, I think turning everything back into paper is not reasonable or cost effective. However, we have to look at options and each child’s preference. I think having both an optional digital or paper version is a great solution. For parents, I wrote this article because I want us to be thoughtful when thinking about reading comprehension for our children with language based learning disabilities and other speech and language disorders.

For example, if your child is struggling with reading comprehension and reading a digital text, consider printing out the article. If your child is struggling with reading a digital textbook and understanding the content, reach out to your teacher and ask them about providing a paper textbook. These findings should open our eyes to having options and individualizing learning for our students.


Barshay, J. (2020, March 30). Evidence increases for reading on paper instead of screens. The Hechinger Report. https://hechingerreport.org/evidence-increases-for-reading-on-paper-instead-of-screens/

Clinton, V. (2019). Reading from paper compared to screens: A systematic review and meta‐analysis. Journal of Research in Reading42(2), 288–325. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9817.12269

I found this video interesting about reading on paper versus text…



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