The Praxis: What to Expect on Test Day

this guy is smug because he knew what to expect on test day (picture from the Praxis website)

By Leslie Grant, Graduate Assistant, McLure Education Library

Many College of Education students will soon be taking the Praxis. In order to help you be more prepared on test day, we would like to share some Praxis resources. For more about the Praxis and how to find library study aids, read our previous post on the topic here.

The Praxis is currently is the process of moving to a completely computerized version of the test. For those of us used to paper and pencil standardized tests, this can add a level of uncertainty to an already stressful situation. Luckily, the Praxis has released some guides that will ease the process.

First, you can check out their Computer-delivered Testing Demonstration. This site shows you what the test will look like and how to navigate through it. It even includes a demo version where you can practice with log in and sample questions. By practicing with this demonstration, you can feel more comfortable with the format of the test because you have seen and used it before.

You can also watch a Computer-delivered Test Center Tour. This will guide you through computer testing procedures, including proper identification, how to store your belongings, and entering and exiting the testing area. The video shows what to expect on test day, and I found it very similar to my own experience with ETS computerized testing. It’s a great resource to get an idea of what the testing facility will look like, especially for those who have never been to one before.

For those taking the computer-delivered test, I would highly recommend spending the time to look over these websites to get more familiar with the test format and testing centers. You can also find additional help with studying on the Preparation Materials page of the Praxis website.

Best of luck!

What is Manga?


By Leslie Grant, Graduate Assistant, McLure Education Library

If you’re ever perused the shelves of our graphic novel section, you might notice that some of the books appear to be printed backwards. The cover illustration appears on the back, rather than the front of the book. You may know this already, but these books are called manga. For those unfamiliar with the genre, we thought it would be good to provide a short explanation.

Manga originates from Japan. The word itself means comic or cartoon. Manga is a style that developed in the late 19th century, and the stories can be about a wide range of topics. It has risen in popularity in Europe and North America, especially after the influx of Japanese animation.

The reading direction in a traditional manga (image from Wikipedia)

Rather than a being misprint, manga only appears “backwards” if you’re used to reading from left to right. This is because manga is usually written from right to left. Some publishers choose to flip the images to accommodate western readers. However, this inversion can cause other problems by changing the illustrations and directions within the text.

The image to the left demonstrates the direction in which the story is read within traditional manga. You can also see a more detailed explanation with examples by following this link.


Now that you understand the basics, we have several series to get you started, including:

  • Vampire Knight
  • Oh My Goddess!
  • Hikaru No Go
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion
  • Gravitation
  • Someday’s Dreamers: Spellbound

You can find all of these and more by browsing the graphic novels downstairs at McLure or searching the catalog. Enjoy!

Simplifying Citations with RefWorks

Basic RGB

By Leslie Grant, Graduate Assistant, McLure Education Library

It’s the night before the big assignment is due. You’ve finished writing, and the only thing standing between you and your pillow is the bibliography.  Despite that fourth cup of coffee, you’re fighting a losing battle with your eyelids, and the source notes from this afternoon suddenly resemble ancient hieroglyphs. That’s where RefWorks comes in.

RefWorks is a tool for organizing references and creating citations. Through the website, you can produce a list of cited works, either by entering the bibliographic information manually or importing it directly from a database or webpage. You can also save these references in a folder, letting you access and share them later. Once you’ve finished adding your sources, RefWorks allows you to generate a bibliography from the list. Simply add it to the end of your work, give it a quick proofread, and you’re done!

If you have not used RefWorks before, there is a wonderful guide on the University Libraries’ website with instructions on creating an account and using its different functions. This libguide can be found here. Also, by creating an account now, you will be able to use RefWorks even after you graduate.

Now go get some sleep, and don’t forget your promise not to wait till the last minute next time. : )


Markus Zusak and the 2014 Margaret A. Edwards Award

By Leslie Grant, Graduate Assistant, McLure Education Library

Congratulations are in order for Markus Zusak, winner of the 2014 Margaret A. Edwards Award. The Edwards Award is for “significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature.” His books I Am the Messenger, The Book Thief, Fighting Ruben Wolfe, and Getting the Girl are honored specifically by this award. The prize will be awarded this summer at the 2014 ALA Annual Conference. For more information, you can read about it here:

The Book Thief, Fighting Ruben Wolfe, and I Am the Messenger can all be found at McLure in the Education School Library downstairs.

Zusak’s books available at our library

Take a Literary Journey with These Spring Break Reads

By Leslie Grant, Graduate Assistant, McLure Education Library

Spring break is right around the corner. Whether you’re going on a trip or planning a staycation, we’ve got plenty of books you’ll want to have on hand. Any of these would be great for reading on the beach. However, if you’re staying a little closer to home, never fear! Save money by traveling via book. All of these reads feature trips you can enjoy without leaving the comfort of your couch.

Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

(PZ7.M43151 Am 2010)

“After the death of her father, Amy, a high school student, and Roger, a college freshman, set out on a carefully planned road trip from California to Connecticut, but wind up taking many detours, forcing Amy to face her worst fears and come to terms with her grief and guilt.”

Paper Towns by John Green

(PZ7.G8233 Pap 2008)

“One month before graduating from his Central Florida high school, Quentin “Q” Jacobsen basks in the predictable boringness of his life until the beautiful and exciting Margo Roth Spiegelman, Q’s neighbor and classmate, takes him on a midnight adventure and then mysteriously disappears.”

Going Bovine by Libba Bray

(PZ7.B7386 Go 2009)

“In an attempt to find a cure after being diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jakob’s (aka mad cow) disease, Cameron Smith, a disaffected sixteen-year-old boy, sets off on a road trip with a death-obsessed video gaming dwarf he meets in the hospital.”

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

(PZ7.J634145 Nam 2011)

“Rory, of Bénouville, Louisiana, is spending a year at a London boarding school when she witnesses a murder by a Jack the Ripper copycat and becomes involved with the very unusual investigation.”

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares

(PZ7.B73759 Si 2001)

“During their first summer apart, four teenage girls, best friends since earliest childhood, stay in touch through a shared pair of secondhand jeans that magically adapts to each of their figures and affects their attitudes to their different summer experiences.”

Best of all, each of these books can be found at McLure library. But if you’re planning to leave town, be sure to come ahead of time, as we will close at 5 pm on Friday and won’t open again until Monday morning, March 24th.

What are you reading during spring break?

Prepping for the Praxis

By Leslie Grant, Graduate Assistant, McLure Education Library

With spring approaching, it’s time for many education majors to start thinking about the Praxis. Praxis testing has begun already at The University of Alabama, and the testing window for April has been expanded to accommodate the high demand. McLure is here to help as you prepare for the exam.

The Praxis is a series of tests for teaching certification. The Praxis I Pre-Professional Skills Test (PPST) covers reading, writing, and math. A passing score is generally required for entrance into a teacher education program and may also be necessary in some states in order to apply for a teaching license or certificate. The Praxis II assesses subject-specific knowledge and teaching skills. Necessary exams vary by discipline. Passing the Praxis II is usually a requirement for teacher certification. For more information about the Praxis, including test locations and dates, visit their official site at ETS – The Praxis Series.

For those taking the Praxis, McLure library has free study aids available. These resources are no longer kept as physical copies, but can be accessed online instead through Learning Express Library. A detailed guide on how to locate Praxis resources can be found on the library’s website. Look for “Praxis Practice Test” under the heading “Research Help” on the McLure library page or follow this link.

Good luck!


Reading Aloud: Picture Books


By Leslie Grant, Graduate Assistant, McLure Education Library

Reading is one of the first things we learn in school and for good reason. Education in almost any subject relies on the ability to read. Strong readers are much more likely to succeeding in future academic endeavors, whether it be a standardized test or a college diploma. This might seem obvious, but for further proof, look at articles like “Reading Can Make You Smarter!” by Anne Cunningham and Keith Stanovich.

So how do we create good readers?

In his book, The Read-Aloud Handbook, Jim Trelease advocates (as you might have guessed from the title) for more time spent on read alouds. Reading out loud to children is one of the best ways to improve their reading and listening skills, as well as foster a love of books. Throughout the book, which I would highly recommend reading, Trelease discusses the importance of reading and reading aloud. Additionally, he shares tips and techniques for reading to kids of all ages. The last section includes his “treasury” of books well suited to reading aloud, including a brief description and age range.


Here are a few suggestions of picture books good for reading aloud:

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr.; Illus. by Eric Carle (PZ8.3.M418 Br 1983bx)

Corduroy by Don Freeman (PZ7.F8747 Co 1990x)

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak (PZ7.S47 Wh)

Froggy Gets Dressed by Jonathan London; Illus. by Frank Remkiewicz (PZ7.L8432 Fro 1995x)

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff; Illus. by Felicia Bond (PZ7.N964 If 1989x)

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst; Illus. by Ray Cruz (PZ7.V816 Al 1984)

Miss Nelson is Missing! by Harry Allard and James Marshall (PZ7.A413 Mi)

If I Ran the Zoo by Dr. Seuss (PZ8.G276 If)

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett; Illus. by Ron Barrett (PZ7.B2752 C)

These are just a few of my personal favorites, all of which are available here in the Education School Library downstairs. And don’t forget to browse through the oversized books, which are great for sharing with classes!

Books to Movies: Spring 2014

By Leslie Grant, Graduate Assistant, McLure Education Library

We’ve reached that hectic part of the semester where every professor is trying to cram in one last paper or test (or both!) before spring break. Once you’ve turned in the paper and aced the midterm, reward yourself. Identify your junk food of choice and watch that movie you’re dying to see.

There are several new movies based on books coming out in theatres and on DVD. If you’re a book loyalist, you’ll want to read these first. Maybe you loved the movie and have been inspired to read the original. Or you can’t wait for the sequel to find out what happens next. Either way, you’re in luck. Here are a few we have at the library.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

On DVD: March 11

At the library: PZ7.Z837 Boo 2006

The Book Thief tells the story of Liesel Meminger, a young girl living in Germany during World War II, and her relationship with her new foster home and the written word. This deeply touching work of historical fiction deserves a read for numerous reasons, including Zusak’s hauntingly beautiful prose and masterful storytelling, along with the many intricacies lost in its translation to film.

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

On DVD: March 7

At the library: PZ7.C6837 Cat 2009

The second book in Collins’ bestselling Hunger Games trilogy, Catching Fire has Katniss Everdeen at odds with the Capital again during the 75th Annual Hunger Games. The movie is worth a watch if you’re a fan of action, dystopia, or Jennifer Lawrence. Brush up on your knowledge with a re-read in preparation for the release of Mockingjay. Part one comes to cinemas this November.

Divergent by Veronica Roth

In theatres: March 21

At the library: PZ7.R7375 Di 2011

If you’re looking for the next big series, look no further. Divergent capitalizes on the dystopian trend with the story of Tris Prior, who lives in a futuristic version of Chicago where people are divided into “factions” based on their defining characteristic. Tris must decide between a life of selflessness with her family or embracing her inner bravery by starting a new life, and she finds out what happens to people who believe they can do both. Roth’s stunning conclusion to the trilogy, Allegiant, was released last fall, so fans of the books eagerly await as it comes to the big screen later this month.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

On DVD: April 8 (Part 2)

In theatres: Dec 17 (Part 3)

At the library: PZ8.1.T576 Ho

For fantasy enthusiasts, a read through of Tolkien’s work is always in order. This Lord of the Rings prequel is a perfect choice with the release of parts two and three of The Hobbit this year, on DVD and in theatres, respectively. And if The Hobbit is too easy, you can always check out The Silmarillion as well for even more knowledge about the Tolkien universe.

Good luck with your assignments, and don’t forget to borrow one of these books while you’re in the library studying!

Love Is In The Air – Celebrate Valentine’s Day with a book about Love



Books About Love: Valentine’s Day Recommendations

Blogpost by Leslie Grant, Graduate Assistant, McLure Education Library


Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate


With February 14 rapidly approaching, love seems to be on everyone’s mind. You can’t walk through the grocery store or turn on the TV without being assaulted by red and pink hearts. If books are your one true love, then consider checking out some of these books from the library.

eleanor & park

Eleanor & Park

PZ7.R79613 Ele 2013

“Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.”

Rainbow Rowell’s honest story about two outsiders trying to survive high school in the eighties has taken the world of Young Adult fiction by storm. This story epitomizes the power and importance of young love. A 2014 Printz Honor book, Eleanor & Park would be a good Valentine’s read for fans of teen romance and good music.

  fault in our stars

The Fault in Our Stars

PZ7.G8233 Fau 2012

“As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.”

In this book, John Green tells the story of two teens who meet in a support group for cancer survivors. Green has quite a following, and you’ll know why after reading this witty and heartbreaking book. Plus, The Fault in Our Stars comes to the big screen this June, so why not read the book first? But don’t forget to bring tissues!



PZ7.M57188 Tw 2005

“About three things I was absolutely positive. First, Edward was a vampire. Second, there was a part of him-and I didn’t know how potent that part might be-that thirsted for my blood. And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.”

While Twilight receives a lot of criticism, don’t discount its popularity. The now ubiquitous love story of Bella Swan and teen vampire Edward Cullen is a perfect guilty pleasure for this holiday. To be read while eating an entire box of chocolates by yourself.

 on and only ivan

One and Only Ivan

PZ7.A6483 On 2012

“Right now I would give all the yogurt raisins in all the world for a heart made of ice.”

If friendship is more your style, then check out Katherine Applegate’s One and Only Ivan, winner of the 2013 Newbery Medal. Ivan, a gorilla on display at the mall, must learn to care for his fellow animals in order to find a way to spare their newest addition, a baby elephant, from sharing the same sad existence. Inspired by the real life story of a gorilla who lived in a mall in Tacoma, Washington for 27 years.


All of these books are available at the McLure Education Library, so come by to find your perfect match. Have a happy Valentine’s Day!




Compiled by Helga Vissscher, head McLure Education Library


Electronic Books come from many resources.  Most people regard the e-Book as an electronic copy of the traditional book published in paper.  Other items that populate the e-Book collection include published reports by research organizations and government entities.  Some ERIC Documents in microfiche are e-books; some reside in other databases, such as Lexis-Nexis, and Gale Virtual Reference Library. The largest general e-book resource is the database  ebrary: Academic Complete    Other agencies provide their books and reports within such agencies as the National Bureau of Economic Research.  Items from databases such as Dissertations and Theses  also show up as e-Books. 

E-books are easily divided by chapters, and can be downloaded as a complete book, or selected parts. This makes them ideal for linking to RESERVES for courses.  Please let the McLure Education Library staff know if you plan to do this, so additional access can be acquired. Most e-books allow for one user at a time.

Ebooks allow you to open the item at your computer for immediate viewing. Like e-journals, e-books are produced by a variety of publishers and vendors, so the platforms vary; they can be searched and accessed alongside the print books in SCOUT, then set the Source Type to ebooks. They can also be searched on the E-Resources search page, the same location where you search for electronic journals. Databases such as Gale Virtual Reference Library, Oxford Reference Online and Springer Link also offer books in electronic format.

12-minute video on how to use ebrary

2-page Quick Guide on how to use ebrary 

Here are some titles relating to Education Research for your perusal, which come from a variety of resources:

Education: Meeting America’s Needs? Gale Virtual Reference Library (database)   

Education: Meeting America's Needs?

Education: Meeting America’s Needs? 


Higher Education in the 21st Century

Higher Education in the 21st Century

Higher Education in the 21st Century, NBER   



Online Learning and Teaching inthe 21st Century

Online Learning and Teaching inthe 21st Century

Online Learning and Teaching in Higher Education  e-brary


Learning in Communities

Learning in Communities

Learning in communities.  Springer 



 Reading First implementation evaluation. U.S. Dept. of Education .  online Gov. Doc. ED 1.2:R 22/14 

Reading: first implementation Evaluation

Reading: first implementation Evaluation