The health news site dailyRx covered the research of Dara Williams-Rossi, clinical assistant professor and director of undergraduate programs in the Department of Teaching and Learning, Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education & Human Development.

The article by Christopher Wright, Digital Books Engage Young Readers, published March 31. The research found that middle school boys who are reluctant readers rated reading more valuable as an activity after two months of using an e-reader.

The students in the study were part of a reading improvement class in their school that included Amazon’s Kindle e-reader. After use of the e-readers, boys’ attitudes about the value of reading improved, while girls’ attitudes declined, said Williams-Rossi.

Read the full story.


By Christopher Wright

Keeping students engaged has always been a teacher’s challenge. With mobile devices and games more prevalent than ever, it is only getting more difficult. However, the same technology may help students enjoy reading.

A new study has found that middle school boys found reading to be more valuable when using an e-reader. Interestingly, girls of the same age group did not – they seemed to enjoy paper books more.

The study was led by Dara Williams-Rossi, Ph.D., of Southern Methodist University. The researchers gave e-readers and e-books to a classroom for 199 middle school students who struggled with reading. The class was focused on reading improvement and the students were able to use the e-readers in class for about 15-25 minutes per class period.

After two months of using the readers the researchers assessed the value of the e-readers. Both teachers and students reported a satisfying experience in the class.

The boys reported that they had an improved attitude towards the value of reading. Teachers reported that the e-readers sparked excitement in the class and received positive attention from the students.

The girls in the class did not seem to benefit from the e-readers like the boys, but the researchers are continuing to investigate ways to better engage girls.

Read the full story.

SMU is a nationally ranked private university in Dallas founded 100 years ago. Today, SMU enrolls nearly 11,000 students who benefit from the academic opportunities and international reach of seven degree-granting schools. For more information see

SMU has an uplink facility located on campus for live TV, radio, or online interviews. To speak with an SMU expert or book an SMU guest in the studio, call SMU News & Communications at 214-768-7650.