Rob Shindler visits Gannon, talks to students


There are 32 million adults in the world who can’t read. 

Gannon University hosted Rob Shindler, this year’s Gannon READS author, in the Hammermill Center on Thursday to discuss adult literacy and his book “Hot Dogs and Hamburgers.”   

One of the main points Shindler mentioned from his book was that he can teach someone to read in 2 1/2 days.  

He expanded on this for the students attending and made it applicable.   

First, he doesn’t literally mean 2 1/2 days.  

He said that that time is equivalent to about 52 hours, so if you take one hour a week to work with someone, over the course of a year it adds up to 52 hours.  

“That’s all it takes,” Shindler said.  

“Just one hour a week, one person at a time.”  

Shindler said that anyone is capable of teaching someone to read through volunteering. 

“If each of us took one hour a week to volunteer,” Shindler said, “that’s all it takes to change someone’s life.”  

First-year students’ attendance was mandatory for this event.  

President Keith Taylor, Ph.D., and many other faculty staff members were also present. 

Sara Nesbitt, program coordinator for the Center for Social Concerns, said that 738 students were swiped in upon entering.   

Walter Iwanenko, Ph.D, vice president of Academic Affairs, introduced Shindler. Iwanenko said that the objective of having Shindler speak was to enhance reading and inspire students.   

Shindler, after thanking Iwanenko and everyone else for attending, began by saying that he doesn’t consider himself an author.  

“I’m just a guy that wrote a book about my little boy,” Shindler said.   

After a brief introduction about himself, Shindler said that the reason he was at Gannon was because of the possibilities.  

The possibilities are why his son, Oliver, whom the book is about, is surviving.  

Diversity is also important to Shindler.  

“I did my research before coming here,” Shindler said.  

“There are students from 53 different countries that go to Gannon University.”   

Shindler said that the turnout at the event was mind-blowing and daunting.   

“It doesn’t surprise me because I’ve met the people who run this place, and I met the students who are in this place,” Shindler said.  

“It was so impressive.”  

Megan Woller, Ph.D, an assistant professor of fine arts, said that Shindler’s message of literacy advocacy is good.  

“I hope people take it to heart,” Woller said.  

Shindler said that there isn’t really a way to gauge if the students received his message and will act on it. 

A student had approached Shindler at one of the workshops earlier in the day.  

Shindler said he was asked, “What do I do? How do I start?” by the student. 

“I know I’ve reached that one student,” Shindler said. “That’s all it takes.”  

Chloe Palmiere, a freshman digital media and communications major, said that Shindler’s talk was inspiring.   

“I really enjoyed hearing that even though he was afraid, he helped his son anyways because it was the right thing to do,” Palmiere said.  

“It definitely makes me want to go out and help people in some way.”  

Danielle Kowalski, a junior early childhood education major, attended one of the workshops as well as the talk in the evening. 

Kowalski said the workshops were a little more focused on their future as teachers and working with students who have a disability. 

“Shindler told us to treat those with a disability as a regular person and not to run away scared like he first did with his son,” Kowalski said. 

Shindler said he enjoyed his time at Gannon and meeting everyone.  

“I think if any school is going to receive my message,” Shindler said, “it’s Gannon.” 



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