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Overview: Common Reading Program

The Common Reading Program is designed to introduce you to the academic environment of college. The purpose of the common reading is to provide you and other first-year students with an enjoyable and positive reading experience, to reinforce the message that reading is an integral part of the college experience, and to foster a sense of community among you and other first-year students. The First-Year Seminar (FYS) course will include academic expectations based on the content of the common reading selection.

Program Goals 

  • To provide a common experience for first-year learners to ease the transition into the academic community of the College 
  • To build an intellectual community among first-year learners, returning students, faculty and staff
  • To help students make connections between classroom and out-of-classroom experiences
  • To engage students in discussions surrounding current societal issues

I'm an incoming baccalaureate student. When should I read the book?

You should complete reading of the common reading selection before orientation at the beginning of the fall semester.

Why a Common Reading Program?

Each fall, students everywhere are embarking on a unique journey. At Penn State Berks, we strive to alleviate some of the concerns shared by numerous first-year students by joining them in a common experience.

Not only will you and other first-year students be sharing the joys, frustrations and adventure of attending college for the first time, you will also be drawn together in a more intimate common experience even before you enter the halls of Penn State.

Incoming First-Year students will be participating in the common reading program, established to ease the transition into their new academic environment. When they are ready, they will be able to transfer this experience to the journey of lifelong learning.

Benefits of a Common Reading Program

  • It's a unique opportunity to capture the first-year student prior to their entering the classroom.
  • It offers the chance to develop a sense of community, connectedness to the university, and cultivate an enlightened student.
  • There is a cross-curricular integration of skill building activities
  • The study guide, guest speakers, community service and social activities based on the content of the book will allow the students to come away with a sense of unity and commitment to their studies, peers and community.