How to Read for the Summer Reading Program

Knowledge is a process, steps to understanding. Granted, some knowledge may be one step—“Don’t touch a hot stovetop!”—while other knowledge may be an innumerable number of steps—the essence of music.

Understanding this principle and also wanting to engage you on a regular basis as you prepare for your college career, we have set up this Primer as a summer reading program. By the way, one definition of the word primer  (pronounced like “PRIM-er”) is “any book of elementary principles,” according to Instead of asking you to read the Primer in its entirety all at once, we want you to systematically work your way through the works presented here. The summer reading regimen is designed to get you thinking about what it means to be a student. The term “student” is certainly a familiar one, but you are about to experience it on a college campus under unfamiliar conditions. Rather than expect you to know what that entails and how to navigate these new waters, we offer this Primer as a sort of guide.

We want you to read these works starting Wednesday, June 21 with “My Expectation” (pages 3–4 in the CUA Primer). (Here’s a link to the full schedule.) Working your way each week through the rest of the summer, your final reading in the Primer will be discussed during Orientation with your First-Year Experience instructors—a conclusion to your summer preparation and a commencement of your college education.

Along the way and for each reading, we will post a response piece right here on CUA’s Summer Reading Site ( We have asked people from across the University community to add their insights, reflections, and commentary on what you’re reading this summer. We want you to get to know us and what is important to the intellectual life of the CUA community—what better way to learn that than hearing from us directly?

The Primer readings are not intended to replace or even approximate all you will think about in college; rather, they are introductions to thoughts and ideas you can and will encounter in your first year and every year thereafter. Consider this the appetizer platter to the banquet you are set to enjoy!

Bon appetit!

(If you would like an electronic copy of the Primer, you can download one by following this link.)

Photo: “Book” by Santi DeFerrol is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

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