Research Validates the Need for Large Print

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Large Print improves reading experiences, academic outcomes, and cognitive health by increasing:

  • Reading fluency: decoding speed and tracking ease
  • Reading comprehension
  • Academic achievement
  • Sensory satisfaction
  • Sustained reading

The Physical Benefits of Large Print

  • Larger fonts and increased spacing force the eye to move more slowly, allowing students to track more easily.1
  • Print size impacts the maximum speed at which text may be read.2
  • Serif fonts aid struggling readers by making the words easier to read.3
  • Children are aided by greater leading, eliminating their tendency to double or skip lines when reading.4
  • Reading comprehension and memory hinge on legibility.5

Without legibility, reading is a laborious process, leading to disengagement among discouraged, reluctant, or struggling readers.

Print is Still the Gold Standard

Technological advances have resulted in more affordable electronic and audio books; however, not everyone with reading difficulties is interested in consuming books digitally.

Large Print font and style selections reduce reader eye fatigue.6 The angle of reading print supports more complete eye blinks than reading on a computer, thus minimizing dry eye.7 Journalist Farris Jabr notes the visual discomforts associated with screen reading and concludes:

“When it comes to intensively reading long pieces of plain text, paper and ink may still have the advantage.”8

A growing body of research suggests student readers comprehend what they read in print books at much greater rates than they do when consuming content digitally.9 Children comprehend what they read in traditional print books at much higher levels than the same material read on an iPad.10

Supporting Reluctant and Struggling Readers

Students may be unmotivated, see reading as of little value, or be enticed by alternate endeavors and have limited time to read. They may lack visual acuity, vocabulary or comprehension skills, or be second language learners. They may also have a learning disability, such as dyslexia. No matter the cause, they share the common denominator of reading less than their peers.

Reading difficulties can also result from neurological causes, educationally sound and early interventions can actually normalize how these students process print.11

In a survey conducted by Thorndike Press, teachers reported that comprehension, motivation and confidence building, vocabulary, tracking, and reading enjoyment were addressed when using Large Print books. More than half of the participating teachers reported students were reading better at the same level or reading at the next level after only five months’ exposure to Large Print books. Statistics like these indicate why there should be abundant collections of young adult Large Print books on library and school shelves.

Research consistently shows Large Print books are necessary ingredients in successful reading programs for students of all ages and learning stages, enabling struggling readers to make substantial progress with comprehension, tracking, and fluency:

  • Typographical factors such as font size, font style, leading, and color aid in the development of reading.12
  • Reading speed and accuracy are aided when texts have larger and more widely spaced fonts. This is particularly true for emerging readers of any age, thus eliminating an intimidation factor associated with small font sizes.13
  • Students using Large Print books for one year improved between 41% and 70% on their SRA reading scores.14

About Large Print

Thorndike Press Large Print is formatted in a 16-point serif font, (this paper is set in 16-point typeface), one-third more line spacing, and expanded character spacing to increase readability. Large Print books create high-contrast reading by employing dark type on thin but high-opacity paper.

Products are comparable in size and weight to traditional print. This prevents reluctant readers from feeling self-conscious. Large Print editions for students do not usually include the words “large print” on the cover and are presented with identical cover designs to the original print editions.

Most Large Print books published today are reprints of bestselling, popular, and classic books. Importantly, educators say the content in these books is more apt to hold a reluctant reader’s attention. The result is an increase in reader vocabulary and independence because the reader is not limited to lower-level reading materials. Self-selection of material is a key component to active and meaningful literary learning.

Middle reader and young adult Thorndike Press large print titles are available at and through all major wholesalers.


1 Legge, G. & Bigelow, C. Does Print Size Matter for Reading? (2014, August). Retrieved December 16, 2014 from

2, 4 Worden, E (1991). Ergonomics and literacy: more common than you think (Report N. CS-010-451). East Lansing, MI: National Center for Research on Teacher Learning. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED329901).

3, 5, 6, 7 Bloodswroth, J.G. (1993). Legibility of print (Report No. CS-011-244). East Lansing, M: National Center for Research on Teacher Learning. (ERIC Document Reproduction Services No. ED355497)/

8 Tanner, M.J. (2014) Digital vs. Print: Reading Comprehension and the Future of the Book. SLIS Student Research Journal, 4(2). Retrieved 8-12-16.

9 Jabr, F., (2013). The Reading Brain in the Digital Age: The Science of Paper versus Screens.Scientific American. April 11, 2013. Web. Retrieved 8-14-16.

10, 13 Herold, B. Researchers Voice Concern Over E-Books’ Effect on Reading Comprehension. (2014, April). Retrieved December 16, 2014 from

11, 12 Mathes, P. (2016). Curing Dyslexia: What is Possible. Webinar from the International Dyslexia Association. Retrieved August 8, 2016 from

13 Hughes, LE, & Wilkins, AJ (2000). Typography in children’s reading schemes may be suboptimal: Evidence from measures of reading rate. Journal of Research in Reading 23(3). 314-324.

14 Lowe, E (2003, May). Large print books: the missing link for speed and fluency for all students – Struggling, proficient, in between. Paper presented at the meeting of The International Reading Association, Orlando, FL.NEW BALANCE

1 thought on “Research Validates the Need for Large Print”

  1. “Students using Large Print books for one year improved between 41% and 70% on their SRA reading scores.” This really is all the evidence you need. Give the students the materials they need. The most important thing is that they’re reading, regardless of format.

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