Robeson Community College kicks off its 2013-2014 book club readings on Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the Robeson Community College Library’s Reading Room with guest author E. Marie Sanders. Sanders is the author of two novels, “To K(no)w Avail” and “Blindsided.”
“To K(no)w Avail” explores the relationship of a young couple. Both Christians, the two face challenges as Avail, one character, begins her freshman year in college. The novel offers insight into the minds of both characters by focusing on key events being told from both the male and female’s point of view.
Sanders is an English faculty member at Robeson Community College. Before her employment at RCC, she worked in the public schools for 12 years. She was also a youth minister for 15 years. Although born in Fayetteville, Sanders was raised in Pittsburgh. She and her husbandlive in Lumberton.
Each month students and community members are welcome to join us in book discussions. Being featured in October is “Nickel and Dimed” by Barbara Ehrenreich. In this non-fictional piece, Ehrenreich asks the question: How does one survive on minimum wage? She decided to find out by working as a hotel maid, Walmart associate and nursing home aide. It has been 12 years since the book was first published; recent strikes by fast-food workers in major cities this summer have brought the need to raise the minimum wage to the forefront once again.
The book readings are part of a five-year project titled, “RCC 4 R.E.A.L.” (Reading Engages Active Learning). The project, which began in 2010, focuses on improving students’ reading comprehension through specific activities within designated classes and through out-of-class activities such as the book readings and guest speaker series. Selected pre-college reading and writing classes focus heavily on reading strategies as well as have a tutor within the classroom who is able to assist students in developing their skills. Students who perform below a certain score are required to attend outside tutoring sessions. The tutor, who has worked with the instructor, has compiled activities specifically designed to tackle each student’s particular weakness in reading. Within the first year Nursing and Respiratory Therapy classes, students apply their reading comprehension skills through specially designed activities and through the engagement of novels that relate to their profession. Last year both student groups read “The Checklist Manifesto,” which addressed the complexities of the medical field that are now causing professionals to revert to what seems a simplistic solution — a checklist.
Engaging in reading helps one to develop a broader vocabulary, explore new subjects, and develop critical thinking skills. At Robeson Community College, faculty and staff want students to read more than just the textbook; they want students to engage in readings that challenge their perspectives and connect to their intended major.
Crystal Edmonds is chair of the English Department and the Quality Enhancement Plan Coordinator.