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Library Guides

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New to the University

A series of guides for students new to university.

Your reading lists

At the start of your course you will be provided with sets of reading lists by your tutors. These are recommended books or articles/ other sources that you should refer to for background information to the subjects you are studying.

Using the reading lists

You will not have to read every book or article from beginning to end but you will need to find out which are the core texts (texts that you will definitely have to read) and you should make time to read through some of the other material too. Remember that you have to become an active reader. This means thinking carefully and critically about what you have read. You will need to be doing this reading in your own time. With this in mind you should allocate time in your day when you feel you will feel alert enough to read critically. If you take a book to bed with you you are more than likely just going to fall asleep. You should aim to make notes summarising what you have read every time you read. You also need to remember to make a note of the author and reference details for each text  you look at.

Making the most of lectures

Lectures provide valuable insights into specific areas of your field, delivered by experts. The purpose of a lecture is to make you think. You will, over time, be given a variety of view points and perspectives to consider and this should be the stating point for you to explore your own thinking. Even though it may be tempting to miss a lecture, the more you attend the more you will expand your knowledge of your chosen subject.

Make sure you know where and when your lecture is.

Make sure you have eaten before the lecture - if you are hungry you won't be able to concentrate.

Make sure you have done some reading before the lecture.

Find out if your lecturer is going to allow recordings of the lecture. This may help you if you are struggling to take on board the amount of information being covered.

How your reading connects to your lectures

You will be given a timetable of lectures that you will be expected to attend. Each lecture will consider an aspect of your subject area in depth. It is strongly advised that you do the relevant reading before you attend a lecture. You will find that your reading list covers the information you will need to read as a background to each lecture. This means that when you attend the lecture you will already know a little bit about the topic being discussed.

How your reading and lectures connect to seminars and discussions

Once you have done some background reading and attended some lectures you may be asked to do some extra research and present your findings to a small group of students at a seminar. Seminars can also be based around a series of questions designed to help you develop your own thinking about what you have heard and read.

Background reading gives you a broad understanding of a subject. ( Example: The development of writing in Key Stage One children)

Lectures concentrate on a particular aspects of a subject  ( Example :Emergent writing in Year 2)

Seminars can often focus on narrower, more specialist elements of your subject area. ( Example: The success of the reading recovery programme Longdon Infant  School 2014 - 2016).

The connection between reading, lectures, seminars and your writing

Once you have considered the various aspects of a topic through reading, listening to lectures and participating in seminars or group work you may be asked to complete a written assignment or task. You should consider what you have learnt from all the components of your course module when you are planning your written work.

Seeing the connections should help you work more effectively

Sometimes, your timetable and the amount of work you have to do at university can seem daunting. Realising the connections between the different aspects of your subject can help you to become a more effective learner.

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