What we read in print is much more likely to remain with you, unlike what we read on a screen. There is a fundamental difference in the two alternative ways to gain information, and to retain it.
When I first read some of the research I was not convinced, yet when I thought it out it made a lot of sense. Electronic or screen readers are ‘skimmers’. Ziming Liu at San Jose State University found that when participants in his studies looked at material on screens, they skim read – that is, they sampled the first line of text, then looked for key words instead of reading line by line.
Danielle Golan at Haifa University asked 10 to 12-year-olds either to choose to read on screen or from paper, the kids that read from paper had a far greater understanding of what they had read.
Still not convinced? Anne Manger at the University of Stavanger performed a similar test with older teenagers. Those who read print had greater understanding of the material and could remember far better the details.
I wasn’t convinced until I spent a couple of days observing how I read news online, and I read a lot. It’s true, I realised that I scan the text, I don’t read everything in detail. Try it yourself, you might be surprised.
The reality is that there is space, and a need, for both forms of information delivery. If you live outside Portugal, you can get The Portugal News on the day of publication thanks to our website. In fact you can get up to date news every day. But if you are in Portugal, what can be more relaxing than sitting with a coffee and reading the newspaper. I see people doing this everywhere. Ask yourself, pour a bica and compare trying to read on a tablet or phone compared with reading a print newspaper. Print wins hands down.
Don’t condemn newspapers and print, they are still by far the best way to gather and retain information. I didn’t say it, leading university researchers worldwide are saying the same thing.
One last thought.
If you have read so far, you are probably reading in print, (if online you probably skimmed to the end without reading everything).