Have you ever put off reading that assignment until the last minute and then tried to plough through what feels like a mountain of reading? Or started a class and looked at the reading list and wondered if it was possible to read all that material? The solution may be learning to read faster. The average person reads approximately 200 words per minute (WPM). But today’s technology can help you increase your speed to 1,000 WPM or more, depending on your comfort level.
Speed reading technology isn’t all that new. In 2005, Stanford researchers unveiled Rapid Serial Visual Presentation technology (RSVP) to the world. RSVP works by showing the viewer only one or two words at a time. With practice, readers can increase the speed of the words being shown. Tech company Spritz has taken that method to an even higher level with what they call Optical Recognition Point or ORP. This technology identifies a central letter in each word and makes it red. Spritz claims this helps with speed and comprehension.
According to the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), 44 percent of first-year students read more than 10 assigned books and course packs. Using speed reading technology to help increase your reading speed can help you get through that large task. There are several apps that offer tools for speed reading.
Syllable Speed Reader – For the iPhone, it has adjustable reading speeds, number of words shown, a night mode, and options for dyslexic readers. The app costs $2.99 and supports syncing from Picket, Instapaper, and Readability. Based on the Spritz style of RSVP
Outread 1.2 – A free download for the iPhone, Outread can be used to read web pages and articles at multiple font sizes, has two different reading modes, and adjustable speed. It can also be used for Word documents, txt. files, and other formats. It also syncs with Instapaper and Pocket. They use a different method called “meta guide” which highlights words to help you train your eyes to move faster and stay focused.
A Faster Reader – This free app for Android from the AppBrain is compatible with many readers, such as Pocket, Zite, Flipboard, and Feedly. It also allows you to use other text, such as Evernote and Google Keep. There are different themes and adjustable speeds. They use the RSVP method.
Speed Reader – Available for free for Android devices, it offers an easy share button that you tap to read with Speed Read in most all reader apps. You can also try some of the speed reading drills that help you improve your speed, focus, and comprehension. It uses the Spritz based RSVP method.
Spreeder – For those who don’t have devices available to download apps, this is a free site online that offers a box where you can paste your text and then click to start the speed reading. The speed is adjustable and allows you to pause the text. You can also adjust the size of the window or text. There is also a way to create a bookmarklet to allow you to highlight text online and read it using the Spreeder tool.
While speed reading is not always the best option for studying, as some text takes a higher level of comprehension, there are many instances where it can help. Learning this skill with the help of the latest technology can help you not only complete your school work, but also leave time for keeping up with all your personal reading as well.