Sorry to Kindle loyalists: people who read paper books tend to be more advanced readers, according to a recent study of the reading habits of thousands of teens around the world.
The study, conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, looked at the way teenagers in 30 countries scored on the 2018 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) test and an accompanying survey, which 600,000 students worldwide take every three years. The test, which is administered in 80 countries, collects data on students’ skills in reading, math, and science.
Compared to students who said they “rarely or never” read books, students who mainly rely on screens to read scored 15 points higher, while readers of paper books scored 49 points higher, far outperforming them both. On average, 36 percent of students who took the test said they prefer paper books, and they scored higher than digital readers in almost every country, with the exception of Thailand and Indonesia.
The results also showed a couple of pretty discouraging trends, which Jill Barshay noted for The Hechinger Report:
The number of students who consider reading a “waste of time” jumped by more than 5 percentage points. Simultaneously, reading performance around the world, which had been slowly improving up until 2012, declined between 2012 and 2018. Across OECD countries that participated in both assessments, reading performance fell back to what it had been in 2006.
The takeaways here: keep reading on paper, if you can, and just keep reading, period!