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Nationwide Survey Finds that Paper Remains Essential to Learning

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While technology has spread to virtually every aspect of our lives, the just-released 2015 Annual Back-to-School Report, which surveyed 3,200 students, parents and educators, shows students are still choosing paper. And with good reason.

The Paper and Packaging Board (McLean, Va., USA) report sheds light on paper usage habits related to the learning process, finding more than 90% of students carry paper items every day. 94% of students say it's easier to concentrate while reading a paper copy than a digital version. Three out of five college students prefer to read on paper than on a digital screen. 80% of K-12 teachers say their students comprehend information better when they read on paper.

Building on recent studies showing that learners retain more information when reading on paper, the report reveals that paper may be even more important to the classroom now than it was before the digital revolution.

"Print is tailor-made for helping us read continuously, concentrate, puzzle out concepts, and contemplate the significance of what we have read," wrote Dr. Naomi Baron, professor of linguistics and research contributor to the 2015 Annual Back-to-School Report. "Students reported multitasking more than three times as often when reading on a screen as when reading print."

The report also found that paper led to a stronger connection outside of the classroom. Some 76% of parents reported feeling more comfortable helping their children with homework on paper than on a digital screen.

"With the advent of so much technology that makes learning more interactive and vibrant, we forget that sometimes the best way to remember things is by simply writing them down," wrote 2012 National Teacher of the Year, Rebecca Mieliwocki, whose 9 Productive Learning Tips for Kids, Families and Teachers are included in the report. "Unlike typing, the act of writing down information increases retention of that information and stores more of it into working and long-term memory."

The Paper and Packaging Board establishes and guides promotions designed to expand demand for paper and paper-based packaging products. Manufacturers and importers of these products participate in the Paper Checkoff, an industry-funded promotion program established by the USDA in 2014.

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