Hillcroft LRC

Posts Tagged ‘reading

World Book Night 2017 logoThis year we’re celebrating World Book Night on Friday 28 April from 200-330 in the Learning Resources Centre for our students.

World Book Night rules have changed so our LRC is sponsoring a set of books to give away to our students. As usual we are keeping the title of the book secret. Why? Because our celebration event activities reflect the theme of the book! And not only that it feeds into our refreshments too.

We’ve already installed the surprise book onto our set of Kindles so any one wanting to try out the electronic reading experience can do so at the event.

Our activities will lead to prizes and there will be a chance for our attendees to get creative and talk about books they’ve enjoyed. We’ll be adding these recommendations onto the World Book Night Good Reads List. This year we have Wendy Morris from Kingston University Library joining us to celebrate. Wendy works with us and our reading group The Real Book Club whose next book is set to be Harry Bingham’s Quick Read Dead Simple.

Find out about the impact of World Book Night 2016 on the World Book Night report. And take a look at what we did at last year’s event on our Sway.

The Learning Resources team are all busy reading our chosen book in advance and making the activities…We look forward to the event on Friday.

book-v-tabletIt is interesting in education (including at Hillcroft), how we push our students to read more materials online. Essentially, this is for three reasons. The first is preparing our students for university life where they will encounter even more electronic resources, the second is building up digital skills for university/working life, the third is using material 24/7 on and offsite and the fourth is sustainability (saving paper).

A short article in last week’s New Scientist by Emma Young intrigued us as although it was essentially about finding better ways to read in the digital age, it also provided some of the latest thinking about on-screen versus print reading. We’ve used the word ‘thinking’ as there is a lack of meaningful data on how and why people read on screens. The article quotes from two experts in the field of linguistics – Anne Mangen from the Reading Centre at the University of Stavanger, Norway and Naomi Baron at the Department of Language and Foreign Studies at the American University in Washington, D.C.

The keys points they were making (based on U.S. data) are:

  • The reading of print books is declining with a corresponding rise in ebooks although ebook sales are slowing possibly due to cost.
  • Anecdotal evidence suggests people find it harder to read PDFs as it is more difficult to navigate compared to print text. Contextual markers are missing on electronic pages so if a reader wanted to go back to pick up on something requiring clarification, finding it three-quarters of the way down the page is tricky.
  • It is probably better to read complex material in print.
  • Progress on a tablet (for fiction) is not the same as tactile progress through a paperback.
  • When using ‘find’ on an electronic device, the results are too specific so the reader does not benefit from the broader text.
  • There are good points with electronic devices particularly the ability to change and enlarge the font.

Student taking a book from a shelfWe’re so excited as we’ve received a Library Literacy Grant from Better World Books to create reading groups at our college this academic year.

Our grant will help us get new books to reflect women’s issues and experiences. We will also buy more ereaders so we can get our students reading on digital devices. During the summer we established links with our local Surbiton library so we can encourage our students to join and borrow from the local library and use their ebooks too. Through one of our team’s connection to Kingston University Library we have been able to set up two groups; a Hillcroft College and Kingston University Group and a Hillcroft College Group. The group with Kingston is targeting more confident readers and runs monthly. Whereas the Hillcroft one is running weekly for the less confident readers.

We’re already in week 2 of our programme. To measure the success of our project we’ve taken and adapted questions from the Reading Agency’s Reading Outcomes Framwork Toolkit. Throughout the project we’ll be asking our participants to give us feedback on the groups and their reading. This will include a UX (User Experience) reading journey as well as video diaries.

The Kingston group started off last week reading Jackie Kay’s Red Cherry Red.

Watch out this year as we chart the groups activities. We’ll be using our grant along with  the National Lottery grant  to create a relaxing reading area conducive to reading for pleasure!

Quick Reads on DawsoneraLast week we added some Quick Reads onto our Dawsonera ebook platform. We love Quick Reads as not only do they suit our students from entry level 3 but we also find them a relaxing easy read as well. Plus we promote them as part of the Reading Ahead scheme we run annually at our college to boost reading and literacy.

Up until now Quick Reads have only been available to us as Kindle editions. Take for instance Lucy Diamond’s A Baby at the Beach Cafe which we gave away at our World Book Night 2016 event. The snag with that for our learners is we currently only let our learners use the Kindles in the classroom. So if they want to read an ebook at home they then need to turn to our ebrary or Dawsonera ebook platform platforms. These platforms mainly offer academic text books which don’t suit our learners doing entry level 3 – level 1 courses.

Now that we can start offering Quick Reads as ebooks this will benefit students on our literacy, dyslexia and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) courses who can access these on or offsite on laptops or PCs or even download them to smartphones and tablets. Because we have Single Sign On (SSO) students can get straight to the ebook either through logging onto the network and either going through the catalogue record or the VLE Eresources Dawsonera link.

The three we’ve bought this week are:

We Won the Lottery by Danny Buckland

Black-eyed Devils by Catrin Collier

Trouble on the Heath by  Terry Jones.

If you are not a Hillcroft student you will find Quick Reads to borrow in most UK public libraries.

 

 

iPad standingThis week we’ve been digesting all of our data for our Self-Assessment Report (SAR). You may be scratching your head wondering what it is! Basically it’s a review of the impact of what we do on our students. We produce one every six months and this one is looking back at 2014/15. Part of the process is to identify our strengths and weaknesses as well so we can flag up improvements for the next academic year which go into our Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) for 2015/16.

Here are our some of our highlights from 2014/15:

Increased audovisual material for learners to borrow by 7%.
Introduced iPads into the classroom for learners to boost their digital skills – included reading apps.
Increased use of eresources by 47.2% – getting more learners used to ereading material and building digital skills.
Improved Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) material – embedded videos to reinforce induction content, new Reading for Pleasure section to encourage reader development and apps to help to hone information/digital literacy skills.
Greater promotion of reading – National Libraries Day, more Six Book Challenge completers, World Book Night and Reading for Pleasure Moodle VLE block.
Extra refresher/consolidation sessions on information literacy skills eg referencing.
Rolled out dyslexic friendly labeling for books to help navigate our material – based on the International Libraries Association Federation (IFLA) Guidelines for Library Services to Persons with Dyslexia.

This week we have had the opportunity to demonstrate the capabilities of ebooks to the classes. Here are a few notes to refresh your memory or if you missed the class.

You can access ebooks inside and outside the college through the VLE: learn.hillcroft.ac.uk. Log in then enrol on the LRC eresources page and go to the Eresources book. We have two ebook providers with different sets of ebooks: Dawsonera and ebrary. Follow the links on the page to their websites. You can do this on any electronic device with a internet browser (tablet, smartphone, Kindle Fire). If you are outside college then it will prompt you to log in via ‘Shibboleth’ and then find the college in the list and type in your Hillcroft email and password.

What can I do on Dawsonera?

Download in full (pdf) – most will allow you to do this for a loan period (1-7 days).

Copy or print text/pages – Be selective! You can print between 5-20% of an ebook or copy quotations to paste directly into your assignment.

Add notes to pages online – You can export notes and print them all out with the relevant page numbers automatically added.

What can I do on ebrary?

Download chapters or in full (pdf) for a loan period – with printing and copying enabled.

Copy or print text/pages (with citations).

Highlight, add notes and bookmark (together called ‘Annotations’) online. Saves them for you on ‘Bookshelf’ when you log back in to Ebrary.

Extra benefits!

You only need Adobe Reader (free) as an app to read the downloaded ebook offline. In college you can use Read&Write Gold for its text-to-speech feature. The free app version is called ‘Natural Reader‘ if you want to use the read aloud feature on your own phones and computers.

We will be putting together a detailed guide for you in the near future.

Also the good news is that we will be able to change it so that no purple padlocks will be seen on the Dawsonera site, so you will be able to access and browse our content better.

Keep an eagle eye out for more tips by subscribing to our blog.

DBanned Books logoid you know that books can be requested to be taken off the open shelves of schools, bookshops and libraries? Books are banned for political and social reasons. Books can convey powerful messages and change people’s minds. In extreme cases, books can spread corrupt and poisonous ideas to vulnerable people who may carry out terrible actions in consequence. However, what makes an idea corrupt or poisonous is subjective. This week the world has been celebrating the freedom to read books no matter their subject. Here’s a list of frequently challenged books including:

The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini challenged for “Offensive language, unsuited to age group, violence.”

Persepolis, by Marjane Satrap challenged for “gambling, offensive language, political viewpoint. Additional reasons: “politically, racially, and socially offensive,” “graphic depictions”

Both of these are critically acclaimed works and have demanding subjects which should be tackled with care and insight by the reader. Perhaps you would like to borrow and read these works from the LRC and write a balanced review for the catalogue to help others tackle them too. The key is to reflect and weigh up the arguments and ideas of authors for yourself – that’s what makes reading interesting!

Mavis Cheek in the literature section

Mavis Cheek in the literature section.

We’ve currently merged popular fiction with our literary fiction. It has always been difficult to maintain a distinction between the two for a long time. Popular fiction is usually easier to read and newer books whereas literary fiction are more demanding to read and could be considered classics. The writer KW Taylor suggests that it comes down to what the reader thinks.

We moved the books and weeded out the tatty and unborrowed ones (they have gone to a good home through Better World Books). Because literary fiction is classified using the Dewey Decimal system it makes it easier to browse on the shelf as it distinguishes between languages and countries where it has been written. For example, our biggest section of the literary shelf is now 823, which is shorthand for ‘English fiction’.  It makes it more obvious which fiction we need more of, such as our world literature (other than North American) which is a quite small collection at the moment. We aim to grow it to better suit our international focus and interests as a college overall.

We’ve also come across some gems again. We have more than 10 books by author Mavis Cheek who came to Hillcroft College in the 1970s. If you are in need of a good book to read or to be inspired by her creativity and humour then you could try reading her books.

Reading Ahead posterOn Wednesday 24 June we passed over Six Book Challenge certificates to our students from Future Proof/Next Level and Dyslexia: Reading at our Diversity and Achievement Day. They’ve done a great job reading 6 items each and reviewing them ahead of the 29 June national deadline for the prize draw. We’ll be entering their names for the prize draw. If they win they will get a free trip to London with a friend. There is also the chance to win Kobo Touch ereaders.

Six Book Challenge helps adults boost their reading skills, gain confidence and read more. This is the end of our third year of the programme and it’s a delight talking to students about their reviews and giving them a sticker of their choice as they review each item.

The Reading Agency who run the Six Book Challenge reading programme have renamed and rebranded the programme for next year. It will now be known as Reading Ahead. Same format – just an emphasis that one of the six items you read can be anything from a website to a leaflet, to a recipe, or a magazine article, poem, email or book. We’ll be getting some of the new promotional material ready for starting it in our autumn 2015 term. Find out what Hillcroft College: courses are coming up at Hillcroft on our website.

If you’ve got a child then look out for local public libraries running the Summer Reading Challenge to keep up their reading over the school break. Kingston Libraries local to our college are running this for kids and for adults.

 

Pocket study guidesNext week our Access to Higher Education Humanities and Social Science and Access to Health and Human Sciences and Preaccess students finish their courses. Our Access to Higher Education students will be waiting to start university in the autumn term. If you are like them then Palgrave Study Skills website is useful in reducing those pre-university jitters before you begin a new course of study.

The Palgrave Student Life area gives you advice on everything you need to know about study at university before it starts! Your First Weeks at University gives you a thorough grounding of what to expect when you begin student life – everything from halls of residence, to freshers’ week and socialising. Getting in the Study Mindset advises you on how to get yourself in the zone for studying. The Look After Your Wellbeing page gives you hints on eating, sleeping, dealing with stress and getting exercise. Its Common Challenges and Getting Help helps you overcome homesickness and nerves and boost your confidence.

Their Essential Study Skills page gives you advice on drawing up a learning strategy, organising your time, reading and getting the most out of independent study whether you are going on to study at university or going to study at local college.

If you’ve got some money in your pocket then you would do well to equip yourself with the Study Skills Handbook by Stella Cottrell which has more advice again. Why not invest £8.99 in the Palgrave Student Planner 2015-16 to get yourself ready for your studendom?


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