It’s easy to spend more time looking than reading on the Internet. And that can become a major frustration for someone who’s trying to read as much as possible to improve their English. Help has arrived!
I’m always looking for ways to cut through the mountains of material published every day on the Internet to find a few good things to read. But it’s difficult.
Finding good online reading – mostly for advanced English learners
Award-winnning Instapaper is one of the best places online to collect and read articles. In addition to their collecting, managing, and reading tools, Instapaper includes a Browse page, where you will find 15 to 20 recent articles on a variety of topics – a good place to start if you don’t know what to read.
Today, in a blogpost – In praise of the long form – on allaboutthestory, I found a list of other web sites and twitter feeds you can follow to find good reading and reduce the time you usually spend looking. Here’s the list:
- @IfYouOnly – “If you only read one thing today, make it this.”
- @longreads / http://longreads.com/ – “Links to long-form journalism and fiction for commuters.”
- @thelonggoodread / http://thelonggoodread.com – “Articles picked twice daily from the Guardian (UK).”
- @longformorg / http://longform.org/
- @somethingtoread / http://givemesomethingtoread.com/ – “A hand-picked selection of the finest articles saved with Instapaper.”
Managing online reading
There are two tools that can help you manage your online reading process and make it easier. Instapaper, mentioned above, makes it possible for you to save articles for later reading with one click of a button on your browser. And they have a number of extras, including iPhone, iPad, and Kindle apps to help make reading possible wherever you are.
Readability, which I wrote about a few months ago, makes reading easier in two ways. First, it cleans up web pages by stripping distractions – like advertisements – from the page so you can concentrate on your reading. Second, it allows you to change settings – like font and font size, text width, and background color – to make reading easier.
Reading online content offline
There are a variety of ways to save articles on your computer so you can read them when you’re offline. Let me tell you about two that I use. When I am skimming articles from my RSS or Twitter feeds and find one that I want to read later, I often use a button on my browser to save it as a pdf file to Evernote, a free, simple information manager. When I open the article in Evernote, I can read it from my computer or use the link to return to the article online.
If I think I might want to keep an article permanently, I use Readability to “clean it up,” then use the Print/Save as pdf function on my Mac* to save it to a reading folder on my desktop. After I read it and decide to keep it, I drop it into the inbox of a database, called DevonThink, that I use for all of my articles and papers – in fact, almost everything.
*If you use Windows, you can find tools for converting to pdf by doing a Google search using windows convert to pdf.