Improving these skills probably matters more now than it ever has in the history of humanity. With the web, we have access to vast amounts of information of all kinds. We need to confront new challenges in our everyday lives and exploit the fresh opportunities that new technology presents to us.
Being able to read faster, assimilate information better, criticise what we are told more deeply and be more creative in our responses would be advantageous for everybody. So why don't we do it?
More to the point, why don't we teach our children to do this? They are the people whose lives will be most affected.