The Point

Reading the Printed Word

06/18/21

John Stonestreet

I’m going to say it—a book is better than a phone.

Stop me if you’ve heard this: a guy is walking his dog right beside a very busy road and he almost dies because he’s staring straight into, wait for it . . . a book!

You were expecting it to be his phone, right?

If you’re going to risk your life, at least do it for the printed word. We might tell ourselves there’s no difference between reading on paper and reading on a screen. But as Dr. Martin Tobin writes, “Our eyes lie to us.”

“Cognitive scientists have discovered that reading is not only a visual activity, but also a bodily activity,” Tobin writes. “A book is a physical object . . . you see and feel the texture of its pages. Leafing back and forth provides a mental map of the entire text, aiding comprehension …and recall.”

And, of course, when we read a book, we’re not tempted to check email, voicemail, Facebook, texts, and on and on.

So put down the phone. Grab a real book. But avoid traffic when you do so.

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