West Texas A&M University

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Readership WT

Readership WT

About Readership WT

Setting out to experience one's freshman year of college is an adventure in and of itself; however, it's an adventure that intensifies exponentially with Readership WT. Readership WT is a common readership program initiated in 2005 to bolster the theme of the University's Quality Enhancement Plan, which is "Engaging the First-Year Student." The program is designed to use one specially selected book to help ease the transition of incoming freshmen to the University environment and develop in them a lifelong love of learning and reading.

Readership WT is directed especially at incoming freshmen but promoted throughout the campus, curriculum, and community. Each year a new book is selected by the Readership WT Book Committee, which is comprised of faculty, staff, students and community members. Once selected, the book is then distributed to all incoming freshmen at New Student Orientation and Buff Branding. Full-time faculty members also receive a copy and staff have access through department copies.

Further enhancing the experience is a guest speaker at Freshman Convocation, a free and open-to-the-public orientation welcoming incoming freshmen into the WTAMU family held each fall. The speaker may be the author or someone related to the issues as presented in the selected read.

Current Readership WT selection:

2019:  Call Me American by Abdi Nor Iftin

Call Me American cover    Abdi Nor Iftin  

Abdi Nor Iftin first fell in love with America from afar. As a child, he learned English by listening to American pop and watching action films starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. When U.S. marines landed in Mogadishu to take on the warlords, Abdi cheered the arrival of these Americans, who seemed as heroic as those of the movies.

Sporting American clothes and dance moves, he became known around Mogadishu as Abdi American, but when the radical Islamist group al-Shabaab rose to power in 2006, it became dangerous to celebrate Western culture. Desperate to make a living, Abdi used his language skills to post secret dispatches, which found an audience of worldwide listeners. Eventually, though, Abdi was forced to flee to Kenya.

In an amazing stroke of luck, Abdi won entrance to the U.S. in the annual visa lottery, though his route to America did not come easily. Parts of his story were first heard on the BBC World Service and This American Life. Now a proud resident of Maine, on the path to citizenship, Abdi Nor Iftin’s dramatic, deeply stirring memoir is truly a story for our time: a vivid reminder of why America still beckons to those looking to make a better life.

Previous Readership WT selections and authors: