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Tips for Improving Online Reading Skills

  • Some students like to read out loud. It helps them to hear what they are reading.


  • Read for 20 minutes at a time. Take breaks to rest your eyes and your brain. Look away from the monitor every 10 minutes.


  • Review each paragraph after reading it. Ask yourself what it was about or write a summary in the margins.


  • Some students like to print out the quiz and discussion questions for each module before reading to help focus on what is important.


  • Some instructors outline the key points for each module. You can use this outline to check your understanding or to quiz yourself about the important material. If your instructor hasn’t included an outline, you can write your own as a review. .

  • If the instructor has provided one, review the glossary of the module. You can also create your own glossary of important vocabulary. Try not to look up every new word.

    Learn to skim — read or look quickly through the material to get the general idea and scan — quickly look through the text for important information (i.e. answers to quiz)


  • You can set up your computer to read text out loud so that you can listen as you read (see the instructions below).

Setting Your Computer Up to Read Text Aloud

Instructions for PC Users

1. Go to ReadPlease to download free ReadPlease software.

2. Install ReadPlease and save an alias/icon on your desktop.

3. Double click on the lamp icon to open your ReadPlease window.

4. Select text in your browser, copy it, and paste it into the ReadPlease window.

5. Click the Play button and the highlighted text will be read aloud.

NOTE: ReadPlease is one of many software programs you can use for this purpose.

Instructions for Mac (OSX) Users

1. On the OSX desktop, select ‘System Preferences’ from the Apple drop-down menu.

2. In the 4th row of preferences under System, click on Speech (microphone icon).

3. Click on the 3rd tab Spoken User Interface.

4. At the bottom, under Other Spoken Items check Select text when key is pressed.

5. Click Set Key and type in a shortcut key you want for this command. ( i.e. option-s)

6. When you want the computer to read text out loud, you can select/highlight the text and then use the shortcut key to activate the voice.

Mac OS9 users can go to can go to Mac OS 9: How to Hear the Computer Read Text and follow the instructions provided on the Apple website.