The Freshman Common Reader


I remember reading my freshman common reader book like it was yesterday! The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie was the novel han

ded to me once I arrived at Texas Tech University for Red Raider Orientation nearly four years ago. I was not a fan of the idea to read a book over the summer considering I had just graduated from high school, but I did attempt to read it several times before school started. I was leaving my hometown to a new place, and I was not going to read a book in which others I had befriended already mentioned they were not going to read. I was in the neighborhood of making friends, and I was not at liberty to jeopardize my new stance. I would say it took the persistence from RA who is now one of my great friends to read the novel.

I was place on a Living-Learning Community, and it was part of his duties to influence us to read the novel. I was also enrolled in a freshman seminar class, so “spark notes” was not going to cut it this time. The friends on my floor were not my friends from orientation, and it was a good thing b

ecause they were never seen again since classes started. It was actually the “cool” thing to do, so I caved in a read the novel. The interesting part was I actually enjoyed the novel and became actually invested with the classroom discussion, and all other events that followed within the program and classroom guides.

Here are the items discussed this week:

Tell me the Beloit list made you seem old, because I know it made me feel old! When you take a better look through the material, do you see any trends or benefits with any of the information? I can honestly say initiatives being laid out for students really helped pave a successful road for students entering college. As we seen in previous articles from last week, if students are coming in less prepared for college this is a perfect outlet. “Highly suggesting” such initiatives is what should be done from higher administrators all the way down to the RAs on each floor. With highly supportive  administration, freshman common readers can be a success for college campuses. The numbers go right along with this research and positive take on elaborate programs.

The provided chapters provide examples as well as other programs which foster academic support. Programs such as: first-year experience, orientation, summer bridge, living-learning communities, first-year seminars, and federal trio programs all support the advancement for the students. They even go into detail about those students who are already matriculated to the university by transfer connection/second-year programs. We see a trend in which the first two years of the college student are the most fundamental years which need growth and fully supported programs.

This weeks class was exciting since we took learning outside of the classroom. We went to actually participate with the common reader this year at Ball State University. This year they were to have read Little Princes, by Conor Grennan. 


I personally did not read this but gathered enough information prior to keep with the crowd. In our observations he was very charismatic, but regurgitated his novel to the audience. Some students were not passionate and only attended for extra credit for most classes, but surprisingly many students were engaged for the crowd size. Students had invested time to the program, and benefits such as these live speakers really add depth to the overall impact.

Going back to my reader years ago, I had no idea what impact it would have on me at the time. I just wanted to make sure I was not left behind, and to make sure I did not reading the novel was the only option. I may not be able to summarize the novel, but It is more likely I can express my experiences related to the novel.  Those experiences created from the students is what really produces the greatest yield from programs like these. We can gather numbers and figures in which students would be pleased to see have changes, but the experiences is not what can be measured or reproduced. I would promote new and inventive ways programs like these are adopted and adjusted to generations. If the experiences are being created, then those initiatives should be kept alive.



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