New Study Finds Large Print Books Improve Student Reading Confidence and Comprehension Skills

“Findings Reveal Students Develop Stronger Reading Skills and Grow in Self-Efficacy Using Large Print Books

FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich.Sept. 12, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Think large print books are just for older adults? Think again. New research released today by Thorndike Press from Gale, a Cengage company, shows that students in grades 3-12 who read large print books developed stronger reading skills, felt more comfortable reading and adopted new, positive reading mindsets. View/download the study whitepaper or infographic.

Study Infographic

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Study Infographic

According to the latest results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) testing, almost two-thirds of 4th and 8th grade students in U.S. schools are reading at a basic or below basic leveli.

The study was conducted by Project Tomorrow®, an education nonprofit, on behalf of Thorndike Press to investigate the impact of students reading large print-formatted books on their reading engagement and achievement levels. Nearly 1,700 students in grades 3-12 and 56 teachers and librarians across 15 U.S. elementary, middle and high schools participated in the study.

“Findings from this study reveal improved self-efficacy around reading, changed reading habits and new outcomes from the experience of reading large print,” said Dr. Julie Evans, CEO at Project Tomorrow who led the research project. “It’s important to note that reading large print books not only improved students’ reading skills, it also improved their attitude toward reading. This is significant as students transition from learning to read, to reading to learn.”

Key findings from the study include:

Reading large print books improved students’ reading mindsets.

  • 69% of striving readers said they enjoyed reading the large print text more than any other class books during the school year.
  • 56% of students said they enjoyed reading more when they could read the large print version of a book.

Large print books renewed students’ confidence around reading and improved their reading habits.

  • 61% of elementary school students said they remembered characters and plots better when reading large print books.
  • 48% of high school students said they read more outside of school after experiencing large print books.

Large print books reduced students’ anxiety and stress when reading for schoolwork.

  • Middle school students reported a 43% reduction in feelings of anxiety about reading when using the large print format.
  • 67% of teachers noted that large print text reduced stress and anxiety in students reading below grade level and at grade level.

Teachers attribute the use of large print text to helping students develop stronger reading skills.

  • 3 in 4 of teachers said students reading below grade level demonstrated increased reading comprehension and retention.
  • 4 in 5 teachers said large print would benefit their students who have trouble tracking when reading or lack self-confidence in their reading abilities.

Lexile levels and comprehension scores increased among students who read large print text, even when reading large print books above their reading level.

  • Students at a Texas urban middle school with access to large print text increased their Lexile reading levels by 2–3 times the average expected growth for middle school students.

Teachers want to continue using large print with their students and recommend large print titles to parents and colleagues.

  • 95% of teachers said they’re likely to use large print in the upcoming school year with their students.
  • 75% of teachers said that large print books are now an integral part of their classroom collections.

“The effect of large print books on my students surprised me,” said Bernice Homel, study participant and Reading Specialist at O’Neill Middle School in Downers Grove, Illinois. “Improvements were especially noticeable among striving and reluctant readers. Seeing those students’ feelings change about reading is something I think every teacher dreams about. It’s a major win.”

“Results of this study further prove the value and impact of large print in literacy development of elementary, middle and high school students,” said Paul Gazzolo, senior vice president and general manager at Gale. “Simply including large print books as a resource in school literacy programs and classrooms and at public libraries is an easy solution to a nationwide literacy problem. “It’s encouraging that student, librarian and teacher participants are advocating for access to large print books.”

For more information on Thorndike Press or the study, visit our Striving Reader webpage.

About Thorndike Press
As the  leading large print publisher, Thorndike Press from Gale, a Cengage company, helps readers of all ages enjoy books. Publishing unabridged reprints in large print format for middle grade and young adult readers started in 1999 and our catalogue of more than 400 titles grows monthly with high-interest fiction and nonfiction books, including contemporary classics, award-winners and bestsellers. Our commitment to producing high quality, 100% guaranteed large print books supports young readers as they develop the skills necessary to become successful, confident, lifelong readers.

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About Cengage and Gale
Cengage is the education and technology company built for learners. The company serves the higher education, K-12, professional, library and workforce training markets worldwide. Gale, a Cengage company, provides libraries with original and curated content, as well as the modern research tools and technology that are crucial in connecting libraries to learning, and learners to libraries. For more than 60 years, Gale has partnered with libraries around the world to empower the discovery of knowledge and insights – where, when and how people need it. Gale has 500 employees globally with its main operations in Farmington Hills, Michigan. For more information, please visit

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Media Contacts:
Kayla Siefker, Gale, a Cengage company

Lauren West, C. Blohm & Associates
608.216.7300 ext. 26

iNational Assessment of Educational Progress. The Nation’s Report Card 2017 (July 2019).