By Lori Berezovsky | March 11, 2018
As a librarian, I fully support reading. I encourage everyone to read no matter their age or reading tastes, and not just because it’s a pleasant pastime. Reading has been proven to increase vocabulary, reduce depression, build empathy, reduce the likelihood of getting Alzheimer’s, and more. Recently, I’ve noticed that while many of my reader friends have a Kindle or e-reader, they apologetically say, “I still prefer reading from an actual book.” Turns out, whether they know it or not, they’re onto something.
The pros of reading from a printed book are many. Immersing yourself in a story held in the pages of a book means less distractions. A book will not ding to alert you of incoming email, text messages or the most recent Facebook post. A study conducted in 2014 found that “readers that utilize a Kindle device are far less competent in the recalling of events and plots within the books as opposed to paperback readers.” Interesting, isn’t it? That same study also found that those reading on e-readers formed less empathy than those reading from books. There’s just something about books that humans connect with on a very deep level.
For those of you who have trouble falling asleep at bedtime, put your books to work! A Harvard study revealed that reading from printed books before bed can actually lull you to sleep; reading from e-books has the opposite effect due to the lighted screen which interrupts the body’s ability to produce melatonin.
Screen time (of any kind) increases stress levels. It only takes 6 minutes of reading from a printed book to lower stress dramatically, with results showing that people “destress far quicker than having a cup of tea, taking a brisk walk, or listening to music.”
So go ahead and use your e-reader, but plan to do some reading from printed books, too. I’m pretty sure your local library has quite a few to choose from.
Further reading on printed books vs. e-books: