Category Archive: Best of the Web Adults

Best on the Web – Aprender Inglés Hoy

U.S.A. Learns es un recurso gratuito en línea para hablantes nativos de español que buscan mejorar sus habilidades básicas de lectura Inglés, escritura, expresión oral y habilidades para la vida. Los visitantes de este sitio web pueden registrarse y comenzar los cursos en línea en cuestión de minutos. La instrucción es a su propio ritmo y está disponible en Inglés y Español. U.S.A. Learns es un programa del U.S. Departamento de Educación y pretende dotar a los adultos estadounidenses con las habilidades básicas que necesitan para ser trabajadores productivos, miembros de la familia, y los ciudadanos.

U.S.A. Learns is a free online resource for native Spanish speakers seeking to improve their basic English reading, writing, speaking and life skills. Visitors to this site can register and start online courses in minutes. Instruction is at your own pace and is available in English and Spanish. U.S.A. Learns is a program of the U.S. Department of Education and aims to provide U.S. adults with basic skills they need to be productive workers, family members, and citizens.

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Best on the Web – Find Family-Friendly TV, Movies & Books

Parents have a lot to worry about: finding time to drive to little league practice, getting dinner on the table, buying new school clothes, and monitoring the content their children see and hear in the media. There is no magic solution to help make parenting easier, but there are resources to help parents make better, more informed decisions. Common Sense Media is a national, non-partisan organization dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, reviews, and education necessary to thrive in a world of ubiquitous media and technology. Common Sense Media provides reviews and ratings of all major forms of media: movies, television, websites, video games, music, apps, and books. The website also houses an expansive library of tips and advice for parents and educators. Through their media reviews and ratings, education programs, and policy efforts, Common Sense Media helps parents and educators guide kids to become safe, smart, and responsible digital citizens.

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Best on the Web – A Bit of Everything Local

From scuba gear to sleeper sofas. Find local deals on Craigslist.

Would you believe there is a website where you can search job openings, find an apartment, buy a sofa, discuss crafts and beauty, join a rock band, sell your old bike, and make romantic connections all in one place? Craigslist is a free online marketplace where users can search and post classified advertisements related to jobs, housing, personals, for sale, services, community, gigs, résumés, and discussion forums. The website was started by its namesake, Craig Newmark, in 1995 in San Francisco. Since then, Craigslist has grown into one of the top 10 sites on the Internet with 20 billion views and 50 million new classified ads each month. Now there are Craigslist sites in more than 500 cities worldwide, including our local Greater Richmond site.

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Best on the Web – Affordable Internet for Families

The world has gone digital. Today, the Internet is no longer just a convenience. It has become essential for success. That’s why Comcast created Internet Essentials to bring affordable home Internet to students and their families. With Internet Essentials, families can do all the things they want to do online, like email, homework, sharing photos, job searches, paying bills, watching videos, downloading music and much more.

Qualifying customers receive:
• Fast home Internet for just $9.95 a month + tax
• No price increases, no activation fees, or equipment rental fees
• A low-cost computer available at initial enrollment for just $149.99 + tax
• Access to free Internet training – online, in print and in classroom

A household is eligible to participate if it meets all of the following criteria:
• It is located where Comcast offers Internet service
• It has at least one child receiving free school lunches under the National School Lunch Program
• It has not subscribed to Comcast Internet service within the last 90 days
• It does not have an overdue Comcast bill or unreturned equipment

Starting in the 2011-12 school year, families may sign up by calling 1-855-8-INTERNET (1-855-846-8376). For more information visit:

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Best on the Web – Email Today for Free

According to a 2008 study, more than 80% of Americans have at least one email account. That number is expected to rise as more rural communities acquire Internet access and individuals learn how easy and fun it is to communicate online. If you haven’t yet established an email account, let me encourage you to do so today. The process is easy, and it’s free to create a new account! In the past, I have used Hotmail, Yahoo! and Gmail email services. My favorite is Gmail by Google, due to its ease of use and the additional services offered through Google. You can register and start sending emails in a matter of minutes. To sign up, go to, click on “Create an account”, and fill out the registration form. For the computer shy, Google has developed a help center where you can view tutorials and read step-by-step instructions. Visit the library for help getting started. Or call 804-458-6329 X1005 to register for free basic computer classes where you’ll be guided through creating and using an email account.

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Best on the Web – Free Images, Music & Video

Digital images, music, video, and text can enhance a paper, a presentation, or promotional material. The Internet makes it is easy to search and find the content you want, but often the content you find is available through paid memberships and other fee-based services. If you just need one photo or one song, paying for access to thousands more doesn’t make sense. Creative Commons is working to improve the way people create and share digital content such as music, video, photos, and more. The goal is to increase access to content while protecting the rights of creators. There are so many ways you can use the content you find on Creative Commons: boost your school assignments, add video and sound to professional presentations, share music and videos with friends, create effective church bulletins and club brochures, and the possibilities go on. is an informative website where you can read more about the project and get started with their easy-to-use search feature. Type in your search subject, select the content format you want to browse, and then download the content you want. But remember: Creative Commons licenses vary item to item. Familiarize yourself with the different licenses and approved uses.

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Best on the Web – Find a New Home Fast

With interest rates at an all-time low and tons of homes up for grabs, it is certainly a buyers’ market. You could spend your summer driving circles around neighborhoods and scouring newspaper ads, or you could find your new home on Zillow. Zillow is an online real estate marketplace where you can search more than 100 million homes and properties – including homes for sale, homes for rent, and tracts of land. The process is simple: Type in a zipcode or town, set your search criteria, then view pictures and descriptions of available real estate. This website offers rent and mortgage payment estimators to help you prepare for your next move. Visit Zillow for help with home-related decisions and to connect with real estate professionals.

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Best on the Web – Manage Your Money Better

Are your personal finances as organized as they could be? One of the best ways to manage your money is to track your spending. But if you have multiple accounts, credit cards, bills, and other expenses, tracking your spending can be confusing and time consuming. Mint is a free online service that can help you manage your money more efficiently. The media is raving about Mint; recently it has been featured on ABC News, in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Money Magazine. The reason why Mint is becoming so popular is that it pulls all your financial accounts into one secure place so you can see what’s happening with your checking, savings, investments, and retirement at any moment of the day. This website offers a budget maker, goal tracker, email alerts, and mobile apps. Sign up takes less than five minutes and you’re never asked to pay a cent to use the service.

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Best on the Web – Explore Virginia’s History, Culture & People

A dance group rehearses in one of Richmond's parks. This image is one of 5,675 Virginia scenes contained in the 1939 World's Fair Photograph Collection. Library of Virginia Prints & Photographs Division. LVA C1:1/04/08/024

Encyclopedia Virginia is the first and ultimate online reference work about the Commonwealth. It aggregates in a single resource information on Virginia history, business, politics, and geography, plus the state’s proud heritage in the arts, religion, culture, and folklife. The Encyclopedia is in the early stage of development, but as it grows, it will also explore areas of science, medicine, education, and technology, and interpret the state’s significance to the people of Virginia, the nation, and the world. This website already offers a rich collection of articles, sound and video excerpts, maps, images, and reference—great for Virginia historians and students alike. Users can create personal accounts to track research and cross-reference resources. Teachers can browse entries by state SOLs. And my favorite part of this website is the customizable Google map of Virginia event locations. Simply hover over or click on map markers to view related encyclopedia entries.

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Best on the Web – Save Money on Tutors this Summer

Summer vacation is finally here; but for struggling students, summer isn’t always a welcome break. Just because classes are out doesn’t mean you can put the brakes on learning, especially if you want to catch up by the fall. If you’re having trouble with college level courses, or if you’re the parent of a middle or high school student struggling to keep up, you should know there are websites offering quality instruction at no cost. Tutoring is a great and effective method to improve your knowledge and skills, but if you don’t have the money to spend, or if you prefer self-paced learning, consider Khan Academy and the OWL at Purdue. Khan Academy features 2,100 videos and 100 exercises and assessments covering everything from arithmetic to physics, finance, and history. While there are a variety of topics covered, this site focuses on Math and Science. If you need to build grammar and writing skills this summer, the OWL, which stands for Online Writing Lab, is a lifesaver. Topics include beginning writing, conducting research, proofreading, and APA and MLA style guides. Depth and detail of instruction set these two sites apart from other instructional content on the web. There are no simplistic overviews, instead users benefit from comprehensive, interactive, and authoritative learning resources.

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