This one aspect is the sure-fire entryway to success

President of HEI

Dr. Mary Landon Darden is President of HEI, LLC. She served in education administration for 20 years and last served as a university center dean in San Antonio, TX. Darden is the author of a book co-published with the American Council on Education and Rowman and Littlefield titled Beyond 2020: Envisioning the Future of Universities in America.

I like to think of the cover of a book as a doorway and a computer screen a potential window, into knowledge, understanding, discovery, adventure and insight.

I watch as my grandchildren are constantly pulled to the computer screen to play games.  They love the challenge.  They seem driven to accomplish the next level and, at times, become frustrated when they do not succeed. They are 100% engaged in this seemingly all or nothing contest.  It is sometimes a challenge to move them from the game to a book, although once they do, their face transforms. 

I see them calm down, be less agitated. I can almost see as their minds make that transition to a place of imagination, dreaming and learning on a much broader level. 

This makes me ask:

  • How do we make reading a first choice again? 
  • How do we make it more appealing?  I know there have been hundreds of studies on this topic, but it still feels like in many ways, we are losing ground.

When I served as a Center Dean at a university, I occasionally taught the research class to Education Masters students who were teachers in K-12 schools.  One of my students developed a research project using appropriate graphic novels to engage students to read more. I have seen articles on the use of comic books to encourage reading and we just delivered a box of age-appropriate comic books to our grandchildren to see if it impacts their reading desire and the time they will spend reading.

Clearly reading is the primary key to learning. There is more information/knowledge out there than anyone could read in a lifetime. However, this information is often unavailable to the surprising large number of people who are unable (or unwilling) to read it.

Pathways need to continually be developed and adapted as increasing change impacts every aspect of our lives.   

I am not an expert in reading, but in the upcoming month, we are going to post information from some accomplished and innovative teaching experts, predominantly in the pre-K through 12 arena, on this topic of reading. Addressing questions like:

  • How to inspire a greater love for reading, how to enhance the positive impact from reading.
  • How to improve reading options and experiences. 

We invite you on the journey and in the conversation.  Please share with us what you have seen that best makes that connection with students, causes the “light-bulbs” to light up, draws students into that doorway and launches them into that special pathway to discovery and growth?

Question: What have you seen work to engage students with reading materials? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

President of HEI

Dr. Mary Landon Darden is President of HEI, LLC. She served in education administration for 20 years and last served as a university center dean in San Antonio, TX. Darden is the author of a book co-published with the American Council on Education and Rowman and Littlefield titled Beyond 2020: Envisioning the Future of Universities in America.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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