Florida Gulf Coast University’s First Year Reading Project introduces incoming students to the expectations of learning at an institution of higher education. All first-year students read a common book during the summer, usually a novel or work of non-fiction, and complete a writing assignment before the Fall semester begins. The book is then discussed in Composition I and II classes and in the First Year Humanities Seminar in the fall semester, and sometimes in other classes.
The First Year Reading project engages students in critical thinking and writing skills, preparing them for a rigorous academic experience, and connects them to the campus community so that they are supported in this experience. In this way, students become a part of the community at Florida Gulf Coast University and come prepared for our unique learning experience.
All incoming first year students at Florida Gulf Coast University will read Ishmael Beah’s A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier in order to explore FGCU’s Learning Goal Cultural Diversity. A Long Way Gone is a memoir of a young man recruited to fight in the civil war in Sierra Leone in the 1990s. The tale of his journey through this horrific experience provides an insight into another world, broadening the reader’s horizons and deepening our empathy for other cultures. The tale’s hopeful ending provides insight into the elasticity and fortitude of the human spirit.
The writing assignment expects students to analyze the issue of diversity in the book, as well as to consider the relationship between what students learn in the book and their own interactions with diverse cultures and experiences. Ultimately students should begin to understand and address the ten General Education Learning Goals in order to begin their own growth and development. Download the Ten General Education Learning Goals. [.pdf - 13kb]
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