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When grammar becomes confusing, writing sounds mediocre, or reading material becomes scarce, try a few of the Internet's answers to your problems.  These sites can help classroom, SOL and SAT performance -- at least they can offer some suggestions of ways to go.

General Information  |  Writing  |  Research  |  Grammar  |  Reading  |  Literature


General Information

B.J. Pinchbeck's Homework Helper: is a site begun by a student and perfected to the point of being a part of the Discovery Channel's Discovery School site.  If you need help, this is one of the top places to go to find where you can go.

Internet Public Library works as a starting point for almost any subject.  Every time I go to it, I find it changed and improved. 

Newport News Public Library System: Need some information from the local library? Well this link will offer that and provide a good place to begin research.

Voice of the Shuttle  is the "granddaddy" of the literary links and still the most thorough. This site has been around almost as long as the internet and probably has the most comprehensive list of literary links on the web. If anything, it offers too much.

A Literary Index Making Sense of Literature on the Internet is a well done door site that links to most primary literature sites.  It also does a good job of categorizing the links.  Much of it is focused on college needs, but the site is worth a look because it has limited the links and relates them to needs such as teaching, resource, and electronic texts.

Merriam Webster Online :Try a word a day or a word puzzle.  With its wide variety of  means, this site is probably first in improving vocabulary.

ALA Recommended Reading is a site sponsored by the American Library Association that provides any number of reading lists for young people as well as some other useful "helps" to put books into the lives of youthful readers.

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One of the plusses that the internet has given us is a "classroom" for our writing woes.  Thanks to colleges and teachers and professors we now can find out how to improve our essays and letters and blogs.  Have a look at some of these sites and write away.

Empire State College Writer's Complex 21st Century:  This is almost a community to help students at Empire State College.  Fortunately, they are sharing the wealth.  The site includes workshops and in those workshops are useful handouts to present age-old information in an organized way.  They even include exercises to help. This place is a one stop guide to composition handouts and helps. If that isn't enough, they offer an itemized index for anything that can't be found through general searching.

Guide to Grammar and Writing:  One of oldest and best of the interactive writing sites.  It offers guidelines for practically everything as well as 170  interactive quizzes in grammar.  .  If the answer can't be found, try Ask Grammar;  and, if grammar activities begin to wear thin, assign a few in vocabulary.

LEO Literacy Education Online is one of the most student friendly sites of this kind.  It has handouts, quizzes, and an "online checker" for student writing.   The handouts are especially good.   They eliminate a great deal of the rhetoric that accompanies many college handouts and put the main points forth in plain English. They have a more categorized listing at LEO Write Place Catalogue.

Hacker Handbook Software: This site offers a wealth of useful information   It includes interactive activities as well as handouts.

Purdue Online Writing Lab: This is one of the oldest and best of the writing labs and has handouts to cover most topics.  It is oriented toward college, but that does not make its resources any the less useful.  It also contains a workshop on the use of PowerPoint and a few other tech help areas.

Online Resources for Writers:  Just in case this site has overlooked some great source of writing help, try the links listed here.  They are well annotated and cover most of the better known writing links as well as some additional helps.  The site is clear, concise, and easy to use.  These links are a part of the Webster writing site, one of  the best of the online sites and a definite A-list bookmark.

Lynch, Guide to Grammar and Style: This is one of the oldest and the best resources for writing reference.  Lynch defines terms, offers resources, and, in general, gives a well done reference to work independently on writing and grammar weaknesses.  Probably the greatest strength of this site lies in the click-on definitions that can give a clear idea of the terminology of grammar and writing.  Other sites give a more thorough step-by-step guide, but this is great for quick reference.

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B.J. Pinchbeck's Homework Helper:  This student/teacher/parent helper has been incorporated into the Discovery site.  It is one of the best of the homework helpers, offering well researched, annotated sites.  In fact, it is a site for kids by a kid.  The English links are worth a look and the additional information makes this site a great resource.

Research and Documentation Online is part of the Hacker handbook and focuses on the questions, forms, and styles of documentation that every researcher needs to know.

A-Plus Research & Writing for High School and College Students Home Page is one of the oldest of the research paper sites, a part of the Internet Public Library Teens division.  It is mostly links, but the links go directly to handouts and cover all of the essentials.  They also provide links to finding the necessary information after the form and structure has been covered.

LEO Assessing the credibility of online sources is a handout that can assist  in determining the worthiness of the ever-increasing information that can be found on the web.

Research Room Menu is the opening page of a workshop on research papers from Empire State College Writer's Complex 21st Century. Each category includes an activity to reinforce the information.  This might not be a bad way to begin the process.

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Are you confused between subjects and verbs?  Does a participle sound like some new computer device?  If grammar tends to be a confusing world for you, try these online grammar sites.  These offer information and practice, and, as with math, in grammar practice makes perfect.

HyperGrammar has questions for students to look up, then answers that include links to explain terms or give additional information.

Common Errors in English deals with those "spelling" confusions that seem to last and last.   It is a wonderful point and click site that lists errors and then explains how to fix them.

A Writer's Guidebook Exercises is another exercise site that can be used for grammar practice.

Grammar Workout Menu is another interactive grammar site to reinforce those skills that seem so elusive.  This one has the subtitle "Bottom-Line, Low-Anxiety Grammar & Sentence Structure."

Online Grammar Resources Macmillan Teach Yourself  this is another good "door site" that offers links to online dictionaries and other useful books as well as sites.

Guide to Grammar and Writing is arguably the best of the writing sites.  There is little in terms of writing that cannot be found here.

Grammar Slammer Complete Contents is another interactive site that offers online practice.

Garbl's Online Grammar Guides--Punctuation too  is a wonderful information site and "doorway" place to go for help on correct grammar.

Self-Study English Grammar Quizzes (ESL, EFL) offers some trial and error work -- see how you do, then figure out where you are wrong.  Like math, grammar works best with lots of practice.

English Grammar 101 is a free online practice site for home users.  Just click on the "home user" side and go.

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One of the greatest things about the internet is its wealth of reading material.  Discover books that are not even in print, read newspapers from all over the world, or explore authors you have heard about.  Reading is a key not only to the reading SOL, but also to doing a better job with the writing.  It, likewise, carries over into the skills needed for SATs. So, search out a book, or a newspaper, or a short story, and enjoy.

PROJECT GUTENBERG - Catalog By Author - Page: If the book doesn't have a copyright, it is likely to be found here.  This is one of the oldest of the book sites. 

Bibliomania:  Looking for study guides, reference materials, a good book?  Go here.  They have an extended list of materials and for most works they also include a study guide.  Registration is needed to access the information, but the site is free and a definite asset if only for those looking for a page or two to annotate in class.

American Literature - American Literary Classics is an online book site that offers a limited number of key novels (all out of copyright).  The limited listing makes it useful.  This site also offer "Chapter a Day" book reading that might be one way of tackling a classic novel.  In addition they have a Quote of the Day and a Vocabulary word.  The site is well done and has won awards.  The texts are easily navigable with clear Table of Contents.

The On-Line Books Page: If you want quicker links to on-line texts than going through the Internet Public Library, try this list. All it offers is the books. IPL is probably a little more complete, but this site is more expedient. Great Books Online is one of the oldest archives of online fiction.  Their site offers more than just texts, however.  They have several "exhibitions" of sorts that use the information from their many resources.  They also have a search engine.  This has been around for a long time and they have learned how to use their resources to assist the visitor. Books : The post offers first chapters of best sellers that could provide short reading activities using the contemporary literature we never seem to have time to explore.  Students could predict outcomes, see the difference in style from the earlier works we usually study or simply look for themes and characters.  The site also offer book reviews that could help students see how to analyze a piece of literature or at least to go beyond the "I liked that book" stage.  Anyway, the site might be worth exploring. -  can provide another source of "reading from a variety of sources."  They have graphs, news articles, interviews, and transcripts from programs that can be downloaded.  Give the Learning Resources section a look.

The Online NewsHour Index offers transcripts of programs from PBS's McNeill-Leher news hour.  The subjects range from politics to literature and the can provide some additional reading sources as well as material for persuasive essays and research papers. 

Daily newspapers offer topics for writing, a means of adding current issue to historic ones, research sources and means of finding topics, and probably even more than we have given them full credit for.  Below are links to some of the major newspapers:

American Literature - American Literary Classics -- A Chapter A Day  This is a part of a larger site that is gathering available stories and novels.  This is one of the earliest sites to try to gather classics. It might be an easy way to read all of those Great Books. has everything anyone ever wanted to read and couldn't find for job and employment.  The strength of the site is that it does have the types of documents specified in the SOL.

Federal Job Applications and Resumes OF-612, SF-171, and KSAs. is another recommended site from the state.  It comes under that SOL for the business world.

Job Application for Colonial Williamsburg can be completed online.  Again,  this is a site recommended by the state.  It also has job descriptions for added reading types.

Virginia State Employment Application is another opportunity to try job applications.  This one also has a variety of other forms for the reading.  Once again, the site was among those listed by the state for the SOL.

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Young Adult Literature; Middle & Secondary English-Language Arts:  Much of this deals with young adult literature, but they also offer plenty of links for classical literature as well.

Literature Subject Guide Internet Collections by Period, Genre, etc. MIT Libraries:  This is mostly a door site, but MIT can't be all bad.  It is certainly worth a look just to see what links they consider worthwhile.  Sites are annotated and grouped by navigable categories. 

English Literature Links -- Brock U:  This links page is well organized and easy to navigate.  It has some categories that are different from other link pages including one for magazines, genre divisions, and search engines.  It also offers some links that are not strictly literary and might lead to some of those sites that can help with assignments, but don't focus entirely on literature.  It also offers grammar and writing sites. 

Outline of American Literature - Glossary gives definitions of movements, terms used in the text of this site's information, and literary terms referenced within the site.  For that reason, this is a valuable reference in dealing with the terminology of American Literature that appears so often in SOL questions.

ALA Recommended Reading -- a list from the American Library Association of books that they recommend for young people. This is part of an entire site dedicated to getting teen to read.

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