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Newcastle University

University Library

Subject support guide

Your subject-specific guide to using library resources.

Library Search

Create, Curate, Captivate - a reading list toolkit

Logo for toolkit with words create, curate and captivate

Students with a disability or who need specialist learning support

The Library, in conjunction with Student Health & Wellbeing Service, provides individual support to students. This may include:

  • purchase of e-versions (if available) for books which we only hold in print
  • contacting publishers to get an individual digitised copy of print-only texts on reading lists, e.g. for students with a visual impairment or dyslexia
  • extending book loan periods
  • postal loans, if not already available
  • use of an accessible study room for individual study
  • access to specialist software e.g. Dragon to assist with studying
Reading lists and dyslexia

The Student Health & Wellbeing Service can provide additional support and advice for colleagues and students. 

This PowerPoint presentation has been created by Sandy Alden in the Service and summarises some of the issues that students with Dyslexia might face when accessing their reading lists. 

Colleagues will need to log in to view the Microsoft Stream version.

Questions to consider when preparing your reading list

Students will be consulting numerous reading lists, which may all have very different structures.  Some students may find it difficult to navigate lists, either because they don't know where to start, or they don't know how to prioritise their reading. Well-structured reading lists have been highlighted as examples of good practice in recent Learning and Teaching Reviews.

During a recent library workshop, we received this comment from a student in the School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences: 

“The reading list on our course is so big, there's obviously not enough time to read it all. The lecturers know this and say "Don't worry, you don't have to read it all - just choose bits you need".  The problem for me is choosing which bits: how do I know I'm not missing something essential?”

By incorporating the following suggestions, you can structure your list in a way that enables students to get the best out of their reading:

  • Categorise reading into Essential, Recommended or Background.  You should "tag" your references in our reading list system with these categories, as this helps the Library order appropriate stock levels for each item. It also indicates to the student how "important" that reading is. 
  • Identify topics. You can group your sections within a list into different topics so students know where to go for each one.
  • Highlight timescale or weekly reading. This gives students clear guidance about when they should be reading the material in each section.
  • Add brief notes for student guidance.  You can add annotations to any items, e.g. read chapter 1 before this week's seminar, or if doing assessment on X topic, then this reading is a must." It also helps students navigate longer lists which might have many topic headings. 
How accessible is the reading material?

Most reading list resources link directly to Library Search, so students will see the location of the item if it's in print, or follow the link to any online resources.  For students who are unable to view/access resources in this way, the Library and Student Services will support them individually.

If you are embedding PDFs or other documents into your reading list or directly into Canvas, the University has various tools that you can use to make these in an accessible format for students.  For more information, see our Academic Skills Kit: Making it Accessible.

It is good practice to include a range of resources in different formats such as books (print and electronic versions), journal articles, websites and videos to suit different modes of teaching and learning. 

The eBook supplier's accessibility statement should give you more information about accessibility. You can check the accessibility of eBooks by toggling on/off the accessibility features. The FAQ How do I switch on the accessibility mode for eBooks tells you how to do this for the eBook Central platform.

Did you know?

You can view accessibility options in our reading lists by clicking on your name in the top-right corner, then Accessibility Menu. From here you can adjust the font size and site contrast to improve list visibility.

Image of Leganto accessibility menu