Leckrone Academic Resource Center

First Year Common Reader

First Year Common Reader Program
A Common Reader is a book assigned to all first-year students to read before or shortly after they arrive on campus in the fall. The purpose of the First-Year Common Reader is to integrate the student into the University learning community as early as possible. The shared experience of reading the book, which can be a work of fiction or non-fiction, is a way to engage students socially and academically both inside and outside of the classroom. The theme(s) of the Common Reader are incorporated into discussions, activities and experiences of first-year students.

Program Goals

The goals of Lewis University’s First Year Common Reader Program were adopted by the Common Reader Committee in December of 2006:

  • Create a sense of community         
  • Promote discussion
  • Set academic expectations for students
  • Provide a shared intellectual experience
  • Encourage cross-disciplinary dialogue
  • Increase faculty-student interaction
  • Promote critical engagement with ideas
  • Encourage reading among first year students

Common Reader Selections

2016Spare Parts: Four Undocumented Teenagers, One Ugly Robot, and the Battle for the American Dream
Joshua Davis

Lewis University is pleased to announce that Spare Parts: Four Undocumented Teenagers, One Ugly Robot, and the Battle for the American Dream, written by Joshua Davis, has been selected as the First Year Common Reader for the 2016-2017 academic year.

A 2015 finalist for the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize and an Amazon Best Book of the Month in December 2014, Spare Parts tells the story of four Latino high school students, the two teachers who helped empower them, and the one robot, built from scratch, that brought them all together.  Peter Carlson of the Washington Post describes Spare Parts as, “a feel-good tale of scrappy underdogs beating long odds. But there’s more to the story, and Spare Parts illuminates the human side of two polarizing political issues: immigration and education.”

The First Year Common Reader Committee selected this book for its readability and its potential for: engaging our newest Lewis students; significant interdisciplinary discussions; strong possibilities for community-engaged programming; and passionate and informative discussion and debate.

2015 – Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Mark Haddon

2014 – The New Kings of Nonfiction
Ira Glass, Editor

2013 – The House on Mango Street
Sandra Cisneros

2012 – The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Rebecca Skloot

2011 – Scratch Beginnings: Me, $25, and the Search for the American Dream
Adam Shepard

2010 – Garbage Land
Elizabeth Royte

2009 – The Devil in the White City
Erik Larson

2008 – Persepolis II
Marjane Satrapi

2007 – Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Mark Haddon

2004 & 2005 – Life of Pi
Yann Martel


For more information, please contact:
Dr. Kurt Schackmuth, Vice President for Mission and Academic Services
schackku@lewisu.edu