Office of First Year Experience

First Read

thriving in college

First Read

"Thriving in College"

adapted for The University of Toledo by Jennifer Rockwood

ISBN 978-0-7575-7279-1

About UT First Read:  A Common Read Experience

The Common Read committee may select books, (or book) all centered on the major theme of purpose with a number of related sub-themes such as relationships and diversity, as well as other themes. This book is given out at Rocket Launch and used in the BAJ orientation course as well as composition and in learning communities. 

The First Read Program at The University of Toledo brings incoming students together to provide a common reading experience that will introduce students to a part of their academic life while developing a strong sense of community with their fellow students, faculty and staff, both inside and outside the classroom.

The activities that are generated through the First Read Program are designed to engage students, faculty and staff in stimulating and intellectual discussions in and out of the classroom, engage the campus community in projects, co-curricular activities and campus events related to the reading of the common text and strengthen reading, writing and critical thinking skills of all involved. The First Read Program is a partnership between the Division of Student Affairs and the UT Learning Collaborative.
Past Books & Featured Events:

• 2011 Ron Curry Jr., "Everything Matters"

• 2010 Dave Isay, "Listening is an Act of Love"

• 2008 Mark Haddon, "the curious incident of the dog in the night-time"

• 2007 Ishmael Beah, "A Long Way Gone"

• 2006 Timothy O'Brien, "The Things They Carried"

• 2005 Danzy Senna, "Caucasia"

• 2004 Ejovi Nuwere, "Hacker Cracker"

• 2003 Barry Glassner, "The Culture of Fear"

• 2002 Eric Schlosser, "Fast Food Nation"

• 1998 Octavia Butler, "Parable of the Sower"

The First Read Program is coordinated and implemented by a committee. The Charge to the First Read Committee has been as follows:

-Select the book for the incoming first year students.
-Share and decide on activities and program ideas that can be implemented  surrounding the reading of the book.
-Undertake the implementation of specific program ideas.
-Regroup and assess the program and provide feedback for future programs.

The strategy is to invite campus wide discussion while fostering individual growth. Books should be meant to open doors, change minds, undercut assumptions and peak debates. We want students to be and work at “being on the same page” metaphorically


Create an ongoing and engaging academic initiative for students

Successful programs are broadly defined for purposes here as programs that

(a) Have clearly articulated goals and plan activities in alignment with these goals;
(b)  Build Partnerships across campus;
(c)  Move beyond isolated efforts to sustained initiatives embedded in the campus culture;
(d)  Are innovative and creative, and
(e) Use assessment for program improvement.

 “ Common reading programs are becoming a ubiquitous component of first-year experience initiatives. Sometimes controversial, these programs are designed to provide students an introduction to the intellectual expectations of college in an often-informal gathering of college faculty and peers. Yet, truly dynamic and successful programs move beyond book discussion groups to include students, faculty, staff, and the larger community in a wide range of social and intellectual activities.” Laufgraben

First Read Philosophy, Strategy, Purpose, Protocol and Time-Line

Theme committee will determine book theme(s) for the following year

Members comprised of:

Rocket Launch 
Academic affairs
Suggestions from faculty will be compiled after this announcement
Selection committee comprised of:
2 BAJ instructors
2 composition instructors
2 students 
Rep from Student affairs
Narrow selection to 3 and make decision
Implementation committee
Student affairs
Marketing begins planning, programming, implementation in  campus and city community.

Last Updated: 6/9/16