YA Clicks October 2011

Let the School Year Begin!

Rebecca Purdy and the Web Surfers from the Central Rappahannock Regional Library

A new school year is underway and some things never change, like homework.  Here are  recommended online resources.

Learn a Language


U.S. Institute of Languages

5I 3R 5U


This is a great, basic FREE resource for online language learning and practice.  A chart on the homepage lists each language, eight, including English for French or Spanish speakers, and lessons for phrases, verbs, etc. Select “words” and you are presented with choices such as animals or body parts. Additional study help comes in the form of flashcards and two games: Lingo Dingo, where the challenge is spelling the words before time runs out, and Capital Defense, where you learn by shooting down World War II style airplanes. I can confirm that they are great fun, even when you haven’t studied the language in a very long time!

Through YA Eyes




5I 2R 3U


Bartleby is a website where you can read books online! I thought it was pretty cool until I clicked around and only saw classics, such as Shakespeare, Mark Twain, and Emily Dickinson. There are some surprises like, “Hymns of the Christian Church” and even verses in Latin.  There are a lot of helpful books and resources, but it isn’t as user friendly as it could be. If you are looking for something specific it is pretty difficult to find what you need.  The appearance is pretty boring, which is appropriate for reading online classics; you don’t need to be distracted by moving or outrageous pictures and colors.  Most teens would fall asleep at the keyboard, but if you like to read online and find it easy to do than Bartleby is for you.  ~Ehlana Oliver




4I 1R 3U


Picture yourself the night before a project is due, just finishing up your bibliography. Then you realize that for the last source, you forgot to take down the publishing date. You’ve already returned the book and the library has closed. Without bibme.org you would be in a tough situation.  However, Bibme offers citation information online that has already been put into the correct format, ready for use.  This site also has book reviews along with a list of locations where each can be found (bookstores, libraries, etc.). It also provides access to citations for websites, newspapers, magazines, journals, and videos.  The site is easy to navigate for the most part with one exception: finding the citation. The icon is not very noticeable, but after you find it there are no other navigational issues.  Overall, this site is extremely helpful for citing information and is in a format that is simple enough for all ages.  ~Katherine Chase

BJ Pinchbeck’s Homework Helper


B.J. Pinchbeck

4I 3R 4U


The slogan, “if you can’t find it here, you just can’t find it” kind of turned me away at first. However, even though it shows overconfidence, it also shows that this could be the right website for you. It is good and easily manageable with lots of great homework links.  The graphics are so-so. It isn’t like other educational sites where, when you slide the mouse, they give you a picture or a preview.  Though not as visual as I would like, it gets down to the basics of what you need to do.  The website isn’t all that, but it gets to the point.   ~Andy Colemon



Monterey Institute for Technology and Education

5I 5R 5U


Has there ever been a time when you didn’t understand the material your teacher taught that day?  Or maybe you needed help studying for a test?  This website has all the information you’ll need on algebra, biology, U.S. history, even psychology.  When you first get to the site, there is a little box on the side entitled “Subjects.”  Just click on the subject you need and you are on your way to getting a better grade.  Every topic has a video presentation and text that reviews the information.  There is also a course view that shows you each unit and what chapters it contains.  In math, you are given examples and directions on how to solve the problems.  There are assignments you can do and a chapter test to make sure you understand.  This is an excellent site to help you study.  If you keep using it, you’ll have an A in no time.  ~Brittany Tennant

5I 4R 5U

HippoCampus is a wonderful website and the perfect homework helper for people in high school, college, or anyone who wants to learn more about these topics. It is easily accessible and splits into Advanced Placement and college prep/general high school courses for easy access. The site includes links to other websites and internal mini-sites for certain topics.  It’s an awesome site and I would recommend it and encourage everyone to visit.  ~Isaiah C. Padgett

IPL2 for Teens


iSchool at Drexel, College of Information Science and Technology

5I  4R  4U


IPL2 is a great site for teens that need to find out everything about everything. It is like a Google that teaches about all sorts of different subjects. There is a search box in case you can’t find what you’re looking for right away.  Once clicking, the site directs you to additional possibilities that might be more helpful.  The site also has poetry, games and books that might be interesting.  This wonderful little website also has a place where you can go if you are procrastinating or don’t know how to start a paper.  I would recommend IPL2 to anyone who is bored, needs help in school, or doesn’t understand something.  AnnaMae Koon

Khan Academy


Khan Academy

4I 5R 5U


Khan Academy is an innovative online program that uses modern technology to create engaging, interactive, and educational tutorial videos. Displaying a crisp, clean design, from the moment you log on you are welcomed by an abundance of free videos. Ranging from algebraic formulas to laws to chemistry equations, Khan Academy is a go-to source for quick and thorough help on numerous subjects.  The videos are interactive, showing graphs, and images, and their narrators are knowledgeable, clear, and understandable. These videos are a gateway to a lifetime of learning.  The simple, well developed lessons help you retain the information much quicker and easier.  A must for any high schooler, especially for rigorous math and science courses; this is the one website that will not only help you learn, but also make it fun.  There is a plentiful supply on mathematics, but there is an absence of English and language arts related ones. The videos are fun, entertaining, and often quite humorous.  All are listed alphabetically by subject on the home page. It’s easy to watch one, just press “play”.  ~ Jacob Hopkins

4I 4R 5U

Khan Academy is the go-to place for those seeking assistance on that last impossible math problem or science worksheet.  Equipped with hundreds of informative videos in forty-seven subject areas and loads of practice math problems, there is very little that cannot be puzzled out.  Lectures are carried out by Khan Academy employees in a clear, concise style on a dark background, sometimes with pictures or drawings.  They take listeners step by step through what can be a very tricky process.  Practice problems are well crafted, varying between multiple choice to matching to fill-in-the-blank, and get progressively harder, advancing with the learner’s abilities.  They also have SAT prep!  The site is organized effectively and easy to navigate.  However, for those seeking help on history or language homework, this is not the place to go.  Only two courses are history related and language is nonexistent. For anyone who has math and science worries (or maybe those who just want to learn something new), Khan Academy is definitely the site for you.  ~Elizabeth Chase

Kudos for Library Teen Sites

Palatine Public Library District (IL)

This site’s clean, crisp appearance is attractive, inviting and daringly, for the YA world, white. The first thing you see on the homepage is an array of book covers.  If one catches your eye, you don’t need to click on it to learn more, instead hover your mouse and you will see a brief summary!  The latest posting from their blog, Teen Scene, is prominently featured as is the chance to comment.  The book covers in the “Books, Movies, and Music” section, are from a featured booklist.  Below that, are the clever headings “Read It” “Watch It” and “Hear It” featuring a single cover image and brief summary of each.  Visit their “Homework Help” section and a gray table featuring school subjects makes it easy for teens to find what they need.  Click on one to find a featured resource, applicable databases and recommended websites.  This site is well designed, great to look at and a great model for other libraries.

Rebecca Purdy is the youth services coordinator for the Central Rappahannock Regional Library system in Fredericksburg, Virginia.  The Web Surfers are a collection of teens who are willing to volunteer some of their time to see their names in print and help young adult librarians find good sites.



  1. TeenScene @ WPL » YA Clicks: Homework help web sites from VOYA says:

    […] about homework help and which web sites are useful. Imagine my delight, then, to share with you these great sites just posted on VOYA’s “YA Clicks” column. (VOYA is the magazine Voice of Youth […]

  2. […] October 2011: Let the School Year Begin! […]

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