College students and members of the community finally have a chance to be on the same page this summer.
Preface: The Cal Poly Shared Reading Program welcomes all of San Luis Obispo County to join the campus in the unifying experience of reading this year’s selection, “The Lovely Bones,” by Alice Sebold.
Preface, which was first implemented in 2002, is part of the university’s orientation program, WOW. Incoming freshmen and transfers are asked to read a pre-selected novel during the summer, which they review and discuss with volunteer discussion facilitators during the Week of Welcome.
Last year, the program expanded citywide to include community discussions of “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini at the San Luis Obispo City-County Library. There was an enormous response. When the program culminated with the author’s visit, the audience was the biggest that the Performing Arts Center had ever seen. As a result, the organizers decided to expand the program to the entire county. Libraries across all of San Luis Obispo County will hold volunteer-led discussions of the novel.
The program will enable students and residents of the county to share in one experience. Preface Coordinator Patricia Ponce said it is a good venue for interaction.
“We hope to get the same level of participation,” she said. “It’s a good opportunity for both entities to enjoy reading and enjoy each other.”
Some students who participated in the program said they were glad to have a chance to get a head start on the Cal Poly learning experience.
“I think it was a good way to start college-level discussions,” said computer science freshman Brian Oppenheim.
Ponce said that about 70 percent of students said they read the entire novel. This year she expects the students to respond just as well because the novel they have selected will appeal to many people, due to the issues it tackles.
The best-selling novel, “The