eBooks, eAudio and Reading
- cloudLibrary: Use the free cloudLibrary mobile app to browse, check out, download and read bestselling eBooks or listen to popular eAudiobooks. Look for the “Teen Titles” shelf.
- Libby/OverDrive (Maryland’s Digital eLibrary Consortium): Download bestselling eBooks, eAudiobooks, or magazines to your computer, tablet, Kindle, or smartphone. Use OverDrive’s website to send eBooks to your Kindle, or use Libby, the free mobile app, to borrow and read instantly on your mobile device. Click the “teens” link at the top of your computer screen or the “explore teens” guide in the Libby app.
- RBdigital: Hundreds of bestselling eAudiobooks to download and listen to on computers or mobile devices, as well as a collection of 85 classic literature eBooks. Download the free RBdigital mobile app.
- TeenBookCloud (grades 6-12): Includes graphic novels, enhanced novels, eBooks, classic literature, National Geographic videos, educator resources, and audiobooks.
- TumbleBookCloud Junior (grades 3-8): Contains early reader chapter books, children’s classics, graphic novels, children’s audiobooks, and National Geographic videos – many of which are paired with e-books.
- U.S. History (Gale OneFile): Content covers events in U.S. history as well as scholarly work established in the field.
- World History (Gale OneFile): Provides balanced coverage of events in world history with relevant articles updated daily – both current thinking and established scholarly work.
Learn a New Language
- Mango: Engage in fun conversational online lessons in more than 70 languages. Create a free account to keep track of your learning progress. Free mobile app available for Apple & Android devices.
- Pronunciator: Take your language skills to the next level. Learn 80 languages in any of 50 languages ̶ for example, a native French speaker can learn Chinese in French! Download the free mobile app.
- Rosetta Stone: Select from 30 languages structured around core lessons in reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Microphone required for speaking lessons. Rosetta Stone is best used on a laptop or computer – do not download mobile app.
Literary Research & Criticism
- Literature Resource Center: Find author biographies, reviews, literary criticism, primary sources, and topic overviews
- LitFinder: Find more than 145,000 poems, short stories, essays, speeches, and plays representing the work of more than 79,000 authors.
- ArtistWorks: Learn an instrument, vocal techniques, or art skills from award-winning teachers with self-paced online video classes. Includes traditional instruments such as piano and guitar, as well as less common ones such as mandolin and ukulele.
- Cisco Networking Academy: Prepare for a new career in a technology field or brush up on your digital literacy skills. Available classes cover topics of Digital Literacy, Entrepreneurship, Cybersecurity, the Internet of Things (IoT), and the Linux Operating System.
- Gale Courses: More than 300 six-week structured online classes on topics ranging from business to hobbies. Take quizzes and complete exercises to reinforce the material. Lessons happen twice weekly.
- LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda.com): Only for ages 16 and up. More than 3,600 streaming video tutorials taught by experts on technical skills, creative techniques, and business strategies, from design and IT to 3D and animation.
Practice Exercises, Learning Activities, and Test Prep
- Brainfuse’s SkillSurfer (grades 6-12): Get lessons, watch videos, and build skills in reading, writing, math, science, and social studies. Log in with your library card number and then click on “SkillSurfer” under “Expert Help” on the left.
- Howard County School System’s activities for supporting students at home (all grades): Find PDFs for each grade level with suggested activities in the following subjects: language arts, math, science, social studies, and related arts.
- Khan Academy (all grades) offers free practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard that empowers students to study at their own pace. They tackle math, science, computer programming, history, art history, economics, and more.
- LearningExpress Library: Practice tests for AP exams, the GED, the SAT, grad school entrance exams, and various jobs. Also includes tutorials and practice exercises for math skills and writing skills. Must create an account with your email address to track learning progress.
- Scholastic Learn at Home (all grades): Includes very specific learning activities and exercises organized by grade level. (Temporary access available during HCLS’s closure due to COVID-19. Our thanks to Scholastic!)
- Testing & Education Reference Center: Practice tests, courses, and test prep eBooks for SAT, ACT, GED, and other major job tests, plus a scholarship and college search tool. Includes basic skills tutorials, math videos, and question banks. Must create an account with your email address to track learning progress.
- Wide Open School powered by Common Sense Media (grades preK to 12): A free collection of the best online learning experiences for kids curated by the editors at Common Sense. Here you’ll find resources from organizations such as DuoLingo, Flocabulary, GoNoodle, Noggin, ChopChop Family, ABCya!, and more grouped into practical categories such as daily schedule, emotional well-being, get moving, life skills, and more. Please note that some links require registration with a valid email address.
- Gale eBooks [formerly Gale Virtual Reference Library]: This tool offers electronic access to encyclopedias, almanacs, and other research books that, in earlier days, were only available in print. Includes eBooks on a broad range of topics from arts to technology.
- General OneFile (Gale): Large general interest database that includes periodicals and popular magazines.
- High School Research (Gale In Context): Resource for completing papers, projects, and presentations that empowers the development of critical thinking and problem-solving skills with content aligned to national and state curriculum standards.
- Middle School Research (Gale in Context): Created specifically for middle schoolers, this resource combines research content with age-appropriate videos, newspapers, magazines, primary sources, and much more.
- Scholastic GO! (username and password: hcls) is an online encyclopedia that contains more than 115,000 articles covering every core-curriculum subject. (Temporary access available during HCLS’s closure due to COVID-19. Our thanks to Scholastic!)
- SIRS Issues Researcher: Includes articles exploring hot topics in society. The pro/con organization of this information is helpful for assignments on opposing viewpoints.
- Interactive Science: This tool brings biology, chemistry, earth, and space science to life, letting users explore 3D models by zooming in, rotating, or pulling them apart. Currently not available for mobile devices.
- Science (Gale OneFile): Helps students and researchers to remain current with the latest scientific developments in particle physics, advanced mathematics, nanotechnology, geology, and hundreds of other areas.
- ScienceFLIX (grades 4-9): An in-depth examination of more than 30 different scientific fields, such as archaeology, atoms and molecules, robotics, and disease. Includes videos, experiments, critical thinking questions, news, and research.