Why Reading On Paper Is Linked To Higher Educational Outcomes For Kids

At Captain Mail, we know firsthand the importance of reading on paper. We see kids get relaxed, take in information, and retain it for a long time when reading our paper-based informational text each week.


However, even we were surprised to find the extremely strong correlation between paper-based reading and learning outcomes. A recent study confirms that:


“Even among students of similar socioeconomic backgrounds, those who read books in a paper format scored 49 points higher on the Program for International Student Assessment, known as PISA. That’s equal to almost 2.5 years of learning.”


That is a truly powerful statistic, and one to keep in mind as you engage your child in reading.


What's included in a Captain Mail pack?



Why is paper better?


Distractions: When we’re reading on our phone, or on our computer, there’s a lot that can distract us. Our email notification comes up, our next meeting calendar invitation dings. When we read on a piece of paper- that’s all that’s happening. The paper doesn’t ding, there are no tabs to click to, there are no distractions on that piece of paper. This allows us to focus our attention muscle just a bit more.


Light: Our brains are distracted by lots of blue light. It keeps us on high alert. Paper-based reading allows us to use the light in the room, and allows our eyes to relax. Anytime we are relaxed, we’re more able to process what we’re learning!


Scanning vs Reading: We know from our own reading that when we’re using a device, it’s often to gather short bits of information. We’re looking for an answer, we’re reading a short article, or we’re trying to read a long article but then something else comes up! When we read paper, we’re able to pay better attention and therefore are able to focus deeply on the item at hand. We can read from start to finish, because it’s the only thing on the page.


If paper-based reading is so important, how can we allow our kids to do more? Especially when school assignments and teacher communication are so often done online.


There are a few ways to connect your child with paper-based reading:


  • Read aloud to your child: This is the best way to demonstrate the joy and comfort found in paper-based reading!
  • Use books to find information: The next time your child has a question about how something works, try to use a manual, or go to the library, or use a reference book to find that information. It’s important for kids to know that answers aren’t only found on the internet!
  • Give your child a choice of books: Take them to a book store and let them browse for their favorite covers. Or, go to an online bookstore and when the books arrive, unwrap them together and start reading.


And, of course..




Captain Mail ensures your child is reading paper-based information in a way that is engaging, thought-provoking, and allows them to absorb new information with each new delivery.


Because Captain Mail includes thoughtful questions, games to play, and a paper-based toy, children are more engaged for longer without screens.


The benefits of paper-based reading cannot be overstated. It’s so important for this generation of readers, writers, thinkers, and learners to be exposed to reading on paper. Their ability to focus, their ability to absorb, and their ability to be calm all are impacted by paper-based reading. And, as the study teaches us, their grades in school will be impacted as well!


There are a few ways to make your child’s Captain Mail experience go even further, and enhance the experience of paper-based reading.


Collect your deliveries all in a binder together. This will allow your child to see the information they’ve learned about at a glance. This also lets them highlight, and go back to reference information when they’re wondering about something they’ve read.


Use the discussion questions: Take time to sit with your child and ask them the questions on the Captain Mail delivery. This encourages you both to dive deeper into the information, to truly integrate it into your lives, and gives you some warm, cozy, parent-child time to have and to look back on.


We now know that children who read paper-based books experience 2.5 years of growth over children who don’t. So, let’s not wait, and let’s begin the paper-based revolution today! Captain Mail can help.