I was reminded by a student last week that there are only 8 weeks of term left so it is not surprising that, with exam season and deadlines for end of course/year looming, study skills has been our focus for the month. This has included:
- study skills being the theme of our displays
- a review of the revision and study skills resources to identify any that need to be replenished.
In the past two weeks the Maths and English departments have launched competitions (with very generous prizes) aimed at GCSE and Foundation stage level students, as incentives to help motivate, engage and support them in their studies. We are helping to promote this through providing all the information required (including the entry forms) and competition entry boxes, which are now available at each site library.
The start of this month saw iPads being installed at the counters of two of our site libraries which give direct access to search the Library Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC). This has been the result of a successful trial, so now we have this service available at our three main sites – just one to go! Students can now search for all library resources from the OPAC with staff on hand to give support if required. We have found this to be a positive step towards helping students to become independent learners as well as developing their research skills.
World Book Night
On a lighter but important note, to re-affirm the need to include rest/leisure time as part of a study regime as well as the significant role of reading as a basic and rewarding life skill, last week we supported World Book Night with a free lucky dip and a book swap. The former proved very popular though there were some hesitant students who needed to be reassured that this was a genuine offer. Some book winners were particularly delighted with the selection they had to choose from. The book swap had steady interest throughout the week as well.
If looking for a good read, as a break from studying or just for leisure, the following book review may be of interest as the book comes highly recommended.
The Distant Hours by Kate Morton
The Distant Hours is the third novel written by Kate Morton and is a great choice for fans of historical and gothic-inspired fiction.
Morton tells the story of Edith Burchill (Edie), the daughter of an evacuee who was sent to live at Milderhurst Castle in Kent during World War II. There she discovers that it is the home of Raymond Blythe, author of the children’s classic The True History of the Mud Man and his three daughters; Percy, Saffy and Juniper. When an old letter arrives for Edie’s mother Meredith, Edie is drawn in by the mysteries surrounding her mother’s past, her connection to the dark history of the Blythe family and the haunting truth behind The Mud Man.
Morton takes the reader on a complex but cleverly structured journey back and forth through time. The story is split into five parts. It alternates between 1992, written in the first person from Edie’s perspective and to fifty years earlier, predominately from the viewpoint of the Blythe sisters.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Distant Hours and would highly recommend it. For those of you familiar with Kate Morton’s previous work, The House at Riverton and The Forgotten Garden it has all you could expect from her and more. The novel is beautifully scripted with its gothic backdrop and elaborate characters, each with their own mysteries.
Morton has an exceptional ability at bringing her characters to life and at the same time, weaving multiple story lines together so seamlessly to create a very satisfying conclusion. Her attention to detail is also commendable, as is her ability to gradually reveal subtle hints to keep you in suspense until the very end.
Highly recommended A**