Hillcroft LRC

Posts Tagged ‘graded readers

snapping-turte

Common snapping turtle by Steve Loya is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

There are moments in the day to take up a book. If you already enjoy reading for pleasure these moments come naturally – during ad breaks on TV, on the train or between classes. For others, spare time is eaten up by other things. Sometimes snatching 5 minutes here and there is not enough to really get the most out of reading. It takes time to get into a book whether you are an avid or a more deliberate reader. Although just 20 minutes a day is supposed to be helpful to relaxation and more. One way we try to make it easier to enter the world of a book is through shorter reads. Snappy stories that get you hooked in fast.

In the LRC we have Quick Reads and Graded Readers. These short reads are designed to fit into busy schedules or for people who don’t have time or feel like reading much. The Graded Readers also have CDs to make it even easier to keep reading and leap over that first 5 minute hurdle to become immersed in a book. There’ll be six new Quick Reads in the new year to widen the selection even further.

It’s easy to underestimate the power of a good read. Finding out something new, seeing a new perspective, escaping the daily grind.  Books are meaningful.

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Baby at the Beach Cafe by Lucy DiamondWe decided to run our World Book Night on Friday 29 April so we could maximise the attendance of our Next Level learners although officially World Book Night is 23 April.

This year we were giving out copies of Lucy Diamond’s Baby at the Beach Cafe which is one of the 2016 Quick Reads based around the main character Evie who has inherited a cafe from her aunt in Cornwall (in a previous Lucy Diamond novel called The Beach Cafe)and is now expecting a baby and needs a maternity leave stand in to cover her absence. Her husband finds Helen who has escaped from the stresses of city life. But unfortunately the two women do not get on.

As a result all of activities and display were around the beach themes. Our LRC Assistant Debbie selected poems with a sea theme to inspire the Next Level learners and other attendees from Pre Access, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL): Preparation for Work, Access to Higher Education: Humanities and Social Sciences and Access to Higher Education: Health and Human Sciences to write their own poems. Our LRC Facilitator Philippa made a beach-themed banner and we had a games table going so the participants could go around the tables:

  • making their own sunglasses
  • doing a word search
  • putting sections from three different stories together  from a Quick Read and graded readers (Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson and Clare West, Tinker’s Island by Stephen Rabley and Michael Salter and A Sea Change by Veronica Henry)
  • working out which photo of a beach taken from Britannica ImageQuest matched the pins on a world map
  • identifying famous beaches from around the United Kingdom on an interactive map of the British Isles.

Debbie also made a lucky dip sand box with free prizes.

The refreshments followed the beach theme with popcorn,  savoury fish-shaped snacks and ice pops!

Many thanks to the students from Next Level and the tutors who gave us feedback requesting more events like this during the year! Read more about our activities and what our students thought on our Sway.

 

Biographical Dictionary and Great Speeches books18 January 2016 was Martin Luther King Day in the United States of America. If you want to find out more about King and other well-known figures then the Chamber’s Biographical Dictionary is the best place to start. This key reference book also covers famous people in the fields of literature, arts, engineering, law, science and politics. To search for his famous ‘I Had a Dream’ speech try the Chambers Book of Great Speeches. The book gives a short biography of the speech giver and explains the context in which they delivered their speech. Other entries include Churchill, the feminist Betty Friedan and Malcolm X.

For those of you where English is just one of your languages then we’ve also got a Graded Reader. And if you’re interested in Malcolm X then watch Spike Lee’s Malcolm X film on DVD.

Having read King’s Speech then watch our recording of Simon Armitage explaining how King’s speech had such an impact on the BBC programme Speeches That Shook the World. You can catch clips of the programme on BBC iPlayer.

Two students using Kindles with their course tutorThis week we were delighted to receive our certificates for our entries that came 2nd and 3rd in the Council for Learning Resources in Colleges (CoLRiC) Best Practice Awards. An extra surprise was the fact that our entry into the Reader Development category had come out Highly Commended. This entry Kickstart the Six Book Challenge with Ebooks looked at how we’ve been getting students and teaching staff using Kindle ebooks which included Quick Reads and graded readers with Future Proof and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) learners.

Future Proof students have been reading the 2015 Quick Read Street Cat Bob. Whereas ESOL students have been reading:

Tales of the Supernatural
The Fruitcake Special and Other Stories
Sherlock Holmes Short Stories
One Way Ticket Short Stories

We’ve just been look at Whispercast which Amazon have running currently in the United States allowing schools, colleges, universities and workplaces to get Kindle books includes etextbooks and lend them out to pupils, students and staff on any device. Having had a look on the UK site it’s not here yet but no doubt it’ll be a future development

LLinoit Natural Remedies by Debbie Greenast week the Learning Resources team worked with tutors on the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Summer School. As well as signing up students to use the graded readers over their course the LRC Assistant used Linoit to get the students to research herbs and spices they might use in a recipe or as an alternative remedy as part of their course. As well as exploring words that described them they also discovered where and how they grew.

Linoit enables you to share photos and sticky notes for free. And you can download it onto a tablet, PC or smartphone.

Our LRC Assistant Debbie Green discovered Linoit at Martin Compton’s presentation Less Teaching and More Learning at Efactor 2014 It’s All About Learning and Teaching organised by RSC London. Having successfully used Blendspace with another one of courses Debbie decided to try out Linoit and linked it into the ESOL Summer School course page on the Virtual Learning Environment. Take a look at Debbie’s effort on her ESOL Natural Remedies 2 Linoit. You can see Debbie’s Blendspace one on our previous blogpost Through the Blender. The LRC team increasingly use etechnology and eresources to hone the Information Technology (IT) skills of students and staff.

For a taste of the graded readers the students borrowed during their Summer School view our catalogue search. You’ll find our graded readers begin at starter level and rise to level 6.

 

Book shelvesAgain this year we’re running the Six Book Challenge at Hillcroft College. The Six Book Challenge is a Reading Agency initiative that encourages adults to get reading. The idea is you read 6 items which you must complete by 28 June 2013. You log the material you read in a diary and rate the items you read. The 6 items need not be books! You can read:

  • poems
  • newspaper articles
  • recipes
  • book reviews
  • letters in magazines
  • information leaflets

to name but a few!

Once you’ve read your six items we put you in a national prize draw to win a trip to London with a friend which includes hotel accommodation, expenses and theatre tickets. There are also ebook reader prizes too.

If you’ve recently joined our Get Confident in English and English as Second or Other Language (ESOL) Preparation for Life courses you may have already signed up for the Challenge. If you’d like to borrow books from us we’ve got a number of Quick Reads and graded readers.

When you’re on course at Hillcroft if we don’t catch up with you while you’re on your course, do drop into the Learning Resources Centre (LRC) so we can update your diary. If you have any questions about what counts to the six just ask us or drop us an email  lrc@hillcroft.ac.uk .

If you’re stuck trying to find a book to read for the Challenge take a look at the Find a Read website for ideas.


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