These reading comprehension worksheets look at how the Internet does what it does.

The Internet is basically a bunch of computers that can talk to one another. We may just think the Internet is a place to help us do our homework or share pictures and images, but it is much more than just that. When the Internet first fired up, it was primarily just for scientists to share information to better understand what they were working on it. Today just under half of the human world has access to and is actively using the Internet in their daily lives. As time goes on, the Internet will be as accessible as a telephone.

We start with the history of the Internet, move on to how it works, and we end with where we think the Internet will go next.

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The History of the Internet

In the early 1980s, the National Science Foundation (NSF) funded the development of national supercomputing centers at universities. These were networked with the NSFNET in 1986.

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QUESTIONS: The History of the Internet

Commercial Internet service providers began appearing in the late 1980s, and limited commercial entities had private connections to parts of the Internet by 1990.

The Internet of Things

A major concern regarding the IoT is the fact that the interconnectedness of everything makes everything vulnerable to a single hacker attack.

QUESTIONS: Internet of Things

What are some examples of things that are included in the Internet of Things?

How Does the Internet Work?

The Internet works by breaking the information you want to communicate, for example, an email, down into very small parts. These parts are called packets.

QUESTIONS: How Does the Internet Work?

First, you compose an email. Then you press send. The network takes your email message and breaks it down into pieces, which are the packets. Each packet includes information about where it came from, where it is going, how many packets the email has been broken into, and the order in which they are to be put back together.


Today e-commerce is business as usual, but it hasn't actually been around for very long. The first online purchase was made in 1994, when a man in Philadelphia used his credit card to buy a Sting CD from a website called NetMarket.


What was significant about NetMarket's first sale in 1994?

The Internet and Self-Publishing

As recently ago as the 1990s, few writers published their own books. Publishing typically required a large up-front financial investment.

QUESTIONS: The Internet and Self-Publishing

Which of the following did NOT used to be a problem with self-publishing?

Internet Safety

The Internet has brought with it risks and dangers that didn't exist 20 years ago.

QUESTIONS: Internet Safety

Use strong passwords: eight to fifteen characters that include upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters. Avoid any word that can be found in the dictionary, or number patterns that can be easily guessed, like birthdays or anniversaries.

What is a Web Browser?

A web browser is a computer program used to access websites on the Internet. You use a web browser to request a particular website or a particular piece of information from a server.

QUESTIONS: What is a Web Browser?

There are many different kinds of web browsers, each with its own options for handling privacy, security, interface, shortcuts, etc.

What Are Cookies?

Cookies are usually created when you visit a webpage for the first time, often after you have submitted data to that webpage. You can control whether or not cookies are stored on your computer.

QUESTIONS: What Are Cookies?

Can you control whether or not cookies are deposited on your computer?

The Internet and Education

Many college curriculums are now available online for lifelong learners. The first college to open its virtual doors to the rest of the world was MIT in 2001, which made all of its materials and courses freely available on the Internet.

QUESTIONS: The Internet and Education

The Internet has also revolutionized homeschooling. Where once parents may have been limited by the materials they could acquire, and by their own knowledge and the knowledge of people they knew, homeschoolers now have virtual access to tutors, schools, online curriculum, advice and resources.

What is a Web Site?

A website is one or more web pages written in code, usually HTML, that contains the layout, format, and content of each web page. Web pages are stored on web servers.

QUESTIONS: What is a Website?

You don't have to know how to code to create a website. Most services that host websites offer website builders, which show you the effect of the code, but the code itself remains in the background.