For early school learners, small print textbooks can cause concern in the classroom.
If a textbook’s words aren’t clear due to the text being too small, it can slow down a student’s rate of learning and disrupt their overall understanding of the lesson.
Not only this, but they may also be exposed to long-term eye strain from trying to read small text, leading to health problems such as headaches, blurred vision and pain in the neck, shoulders and back.
So, if teachers can help to prevent these issues from occurring with large print textbooks, surely it’s worth a try?
Unravelling the efficacy of large print books and the effect they have on a student’s reading skills and educational outcomes, nonprofit organisation Project Tomorrow and publishing company Thorndike Press recently released an informative report, called Advancing literacy with large print.
“Educators are determined to find new ways to make reading more meaningful for students by leveraging the power of context and comfort in the reading process to increase student engagement, elevate reading comprehension, and support the development of lifelong reading habits,” the researchers state.
The study sought to find out if young elementary students preferred one format of learning over another, and if the provision of large print books made a difference to their feelings towards participating in lessons.
Key findings of the study
According to the study’s statistics, the introduction of large print books in lessons made a real difference.
- 54 percent of 3-12 graders said that school reading experiences would be more enjoyable if all books were large print.
- 43 percent of 3-12 graders reported a reduction in feelings of anxiety about reading.
- Nearly 60 percent of 6-8 graders said they could focus better and didn’t lose their place due to distractions when reading large print.
- And 69 percent of readers said they enjoyed reading large print format more than any other class books during the school year.
- 95 percent of teachers said they’re likely to use large print text in the upcoming school year.
- 4/5 teachers said large print benefits students who lack self-confidence in reading or issues tracking.
- 3/4 of teachers said students reading below grade level demonstrated better comprehension and retention with large print books.
The report also outlined that, “Over two-thirds of the teachers, including those in elementary, middle and high school classrooms, identify that the large print text increased student confidence, minimised reading distractions, and created less anxiety for their students than traditional reading text.”
From school reading circles to self-paced reading assignments, the integration of these large-print books was met with praise and positivity when reviewing the results.
With students explaining that they could focus better and didn’t lose their place due to distractions when reading large print, and an impressive 95 percent of teachers agreeing to use large print text in their future lessons, the study could even provoke lasting change for learners.
However, with the use of traditional textbooks declining in some districts and publishers eradicating their production, will these printed pages remain, or will they just be replaced with larger screens?
A majority of teachers said students who were reading below grade level showed better comprehension and retention when using books with bigger text. https://t.co/Ayu0L2NQYw
— SchoolLibraryJournal (@sljournal) September 22, 2019