How to Develop Good Reading Skills in the Internet Age

By Samantha Levine. 

It’s no laughing matter how dependent our society is on the use of technology and the Internet. The great thing about it is that we are exposed to so much information, but this can also be very overwhelming. As we learn to read from screen to screen (laptop, cell phone, tablet), we have readjusted the way we receive information, which is causing our attention span to be much shorter.

When skimming through an article, you may not realize how much information you can actually miss. A great tip to increase retention is to read the headlines of a topic and ask questions about what you think it will be about. While reading, see if you are able to answer your own questions, and then make note of it. This helps you to read quickly, efficiently, and effectively.

man on iphone

Can you read on this tiny little screen?

I’ve noticed that the faster I receive information from the web, the faster I move on to read something else; and more often than not, I’m distracted by an ad to the right and left of the story I’m reading. However, thanks to my very awesome grade school teachers who taught me to love reading, I learned a few tips that can keep you on track:

  1. Read aloud
  2. Reread if you did not understand the first time
  3. Discuss what you’re reading with others around you
  4. Surround yourself with a variety of materials to improve reading comprehension, such as textbooks, magazines, audio books, etc.
  5. Develop a library habit. (A change of atmosphere can do wonders for focusing)
  6. After reading, reflect on the material and ask questions. (Sometimes I quiz myself to see if I understood what I just read)

[Note from the editor: to read internet articles without the pesky ads, you might want to try an app like Instapaper.]

Reading skills are essential in our society, whether you are reading from a book, magazine, or even a tablet.  Those with low reading ability may struggle when it comes to reading items such as signs, instructions, or even medical information.

Recently, I read a few articles that discussed children and tablets, and how kids are becoming less involved with reading and more distracted with moving pictures on an iPad. Instead of getting into the story or message behind it, they are focusing on the entertainment provided by the pictures, or they may spend their time on social media websites.

The best way I connect to the items I read is by making it personal. I am always reading things, books, news articles, blogs, op eds, etc.; and whether or not I enjoy reading the material, I look at all the ways it affects me, and what I can take away from it. There are many times when I struggle with reading certain articles and understanding the concepts behind them, but I always try to keep an open mind. So as you tackle your next article, or textbook, try not to get discouraged, and look for another reason to keep reading.

About the author: Samantha Levine is a freelance writer for In her free time she enjoys cooking, traveling, and reading in coffee shops. You can follow her on Google+.

For more tips on reading and other study skills, order your copy of The Secrets of Top Students today!




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