Survey Finds Parents View Printed Materials as Essential to Student Learning

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Following a year of extraordinary disruption to the educational system, parents are acutely focused on what their children learn, and are convinced they will learn more via printed materials. Parents believe physical books are the more effective learning tool, citing distractions during online reading as a major concern.

A study of 1,000 U.S. parents with school-aged children—conducted by pollster Frank Luntz—found the following:
  • Parents want physical materials as a part of student learning:
    • 85% want physical books in some form, and
    • 88% think they are essential learning tools for long-term student success.
  • 76% find physical books “extremely/very” impactful.
  • Given the choice of only one or the other: 69% of parents prefer physical materials, and 31% choose online materials.
  • 71% would be more likely to vote for a school board member who supports student-learning with physical materials.
  • More than 80% of parents believe physical materials would have made online teaching during COVID easier, when helping their students from home.
In addition to the survey, Dr. Naomi Baron of American University, penned a whitepaper summarizing the scientific benefits of print reading versus digital reading.

The survey was put together by the Book Manufacturers’ Institute (BMI), a non-profit trade association. Both the survey and whitepaper can be found on the BMI website.
 

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