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Getting started with SparkNotes for Android

Whether you're seeking to brush up on your literary skills or you need further explanation of a reading assignment, SparkNotes has you covered.

Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

SparkNotes started out as a Web site called The Spark in 1999, and was developed by a group of students trying to make it easier to understand literature. Known today as SparkNotes, the site features hundreds of guides to help aid students, teachers, and those wishing to brush up on a subject.

According to SparkNotes, its intent was not to have students skip out on their reading assignments and just read the SparkNotes instead. Instead, it wanted to create a fun and educational Web site that helps give further explanations on topics.

So far just the literature guides are available on Android, but SparkNotes does offer standardized test study aids and materials for many other subjects on its site and in book form.

Here are some of the app's highlights:

- Access 50 preinstalled Sparknotes study guides in your library

- Hundreds of Sparknotes study guides available for viewing online

- Share what you're studying and where you are by checking in with a customized post to Facebook

Step 1: Download a copy of SparkNotes for Android

Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

Step 2: Open the app and select from Literature, Shakespeare, Poetry, Philosophy, Drama, and Short Stories.

Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

Step 3: After you select a category, you'll need to select the work you're interested in learning more about. The list can be sorted by title or author by pressing the corresponding button near the top of the app.

Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

Step 4: After choosing something to read about, you'll be presented with the table of contents and all information SparkNotes has for it.

Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

Step 5: Tap on one of these subareas and start reading right away!

(Optional) Step 6: Adjust the font size to a comfortable level using the buttons in the lower left-hand corner and place and a bookmark on page you're reading with the buttons in the top right-hand corner.

Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

Tip: If you're going to be away from a wireless data signal (Wi-Fi/3G/4G), it's a good idea to save the content for offline viewing. Press the menu button while in the app to look at the guides you've downloaded.

Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

The Check-in feature can be accessed by pressing the menu button on your Android device. From here you can post a customized Facebook message that states where you are, making it easier for classmates to meet up and study with you.

And just in case you're wondering, SparkNotes shares these words in the About section of their Web site: "We're here to help you learn, not help you cheat. Our literature guides are meant to be read along with the books they analyze. They are not intended to be copied on tests or papers (aka plagiarized)."