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Learning Resource Center - Terre Haute

How to Be a Better Reader of Online Material



Reading online requires particular strategies in order to get the most out of the material. 
Here are some tips for navigating reading in the digital realm. 
1  Eliminate Distractions

It's easy to get sidetracked when reading online, whether you are reading on a phone, a tablet, or a computer.  Make it a habit to block pop-ups and close down social media and notifications while you are reading online to avoid losing focus on your goal.

 2  Consider Your Reading Purpose

Are you online to conduct some preliminary research?  Or have you been asked to read and respond to a particular text?  The purpose behind your reading task can influence your approach to the reading.  For example, preliminary research often requires more power browsing and moving from reading piece to reading piece, while reading and responding to a text requires more concentration and closer reading skills.  

 3  Consider Printing the Texts 

If you are involved in a lengthy or complicated assignment involving research or summary of a range of different online materials, reading in digital only format might not give you the involvement in the material you need to thoroughly absorb the context and content of what you have read.  In this situation, it might be a good strategy to print the material so you can interact with it on a deeper level.

 4 Use Online Tools to Your Advantage

Online highlighting tools, markers, whiteboards, search and find features, wordpads and word documents are just a few of the digital tools available for annotating and interacting with digital texts.  Even though you are reading online, you should take notes as you read, especially during complex assignments.  You can also read out loud and record as you read for playback later, or look for audio versions of texts so you can listen and take notes, the same as you would during a lecture.

5  Your Learning Style

If you are given a choice between reading something online and reading it in print, think about your own learning style and preferences, as well as the expectations of the assignment and the nature of the reading material. If you are easily distracted while online, it's probably better to read the print version of the material. If you are struggling with some of the concepts involved in the assignment, it is probably also a better strategy to read the print version.  

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Darla Crist
Director of Library Services & Learning Resource Center
Ivy Tech Community College
Terre Haute Campus
(812) 298-2563