Common Reading Program

About the Program

The Common Reading Program is a comprehensive first-year experience for students new to St. Cloud State University. It provides new first year students a coordinated, academic transition experience through summer reading and associated assignments, book talks at New Student Orientation, classroom use of the text in common first-year courses, and programming throughout the academic year.

Contact us by calling (320) 308-2931, coming to Centennial Hall 216 or e-mailing

Background on Common Reading Programs

Programs where students read a book during the summer before their first year at a college or university have become quite a regular feature of students’ transition experiences. Increasingly in the 1960’s universities began assigning students summer readings. In the last two decades, the number of universities focusing on common reading opportunities in some form or another for new students has increased dramatically.

While there is not an established standard for the structure and components of common reading programs at universities, the various types of programs in existence seem to share the goals of improving student success through the development of an academic transition experience; fostering partnerships across campus, including interdisciplinary faculty work; and cultivating a sense of community on campus around a shared experience.

A summer reading assignment gives the university an opportunity to address academic transition issues students will face before students arrive on campus. Book panels and lectures associated with the book give the university community an opportunity to gather around events which bring together diverse constituents around a community intellectual activity.

Partners of the Program

The Office of Academic Initiatives is partnering with programs, offices and individuals across campus to bring you this opportunity. We would like to thank those offices and individuals who have made this experience possible, including:

  • Academic Collegiate Excellence Program
  • Advising and Registration Days
  • Advising and Student Transitions
  • C.A.R.E. Initiative
  • Department of Academic Support
  • Honors Program
  • Husky Bookstore
  • KVSC, 88.1FM St. Cloud State’s student-run radio station
  • University Library
  • Multicultural Resource Center
  • Office of the Provost
  • Office of Residential Life
  • Residence Hall Association
  • School of Health and Human Services
  • St. Cloud Technical and Community College Connections Program
  • University Program Board

Book Selection Committee

  • Brianna Balsemo (student)
  • Kim Bock
  • Sami Bosacki
  • Laura Emerick
  • Faith Ericson
  • Tina Gross
  • Christine Metzo
  • Jennifer Quinlan
  • Molly Tast (student)
  • Kristian Twombly
  • Shelly Wagener
  • Rachel Wexelbaum

Special thanks to the many faculty partners who are using the book in their classes.