How Fast Can You Read? New App Makes Speed-Reading Easier

How fast can you read? Speed-reading app
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Ever wished you could read faster? While you may not want to rush through your favorite novel, most of us would be happy to speed-read the morning news or breeze through an explanation that helps us learn a new skill.

Spritz, a new app from a Boston-based startup of the same name, is “reimagining reading” by making it possible to read up to 1,000 words per minute (wpm), when the average adult reads about 300 wpm.

How the heck does Spritz work?

Spritz makes reading easier by focusing on the “Optimal Recognition Point” (ORP), or the part of the word you look at while your brain processes the meaning of the group of letters.

Moving your eyes from word to word to find the next ORP accounts for about 80 percent of the time it takes to read conventionally-written words. To cut down on this wasted time, Spritz presents each word exactly where your brain wants it to be: in the same space on the screen and lined up by ORP.

The result? Your eye doesn’t have to search for the next ORP. And that means your brain can process content more efficiently — to, for example, whip through that longform article in a fraction of the time — which is the big appeal of this technology.

Image: ORP alignment in Spritz and a traditional speed-reading technique

A comparison of ORP alignment in Spritz and Rapid Serial Visual Presentation (RSVP), a common speed-reading technique.

Spritz is also ideal for smartphone and other small screens. Since the human eye can focus on about 13 characters at a time, Spritz only shows 13 or fewer characters at once.

To give Spritz a try, head to the app’s homepage. Choose your language and speed, then click the white display for a demonstration. Elite Daily also includes a helpful demonstration in their article about Spritz.

What do you think of this idea? Would you use an app like this to read faster?

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Heather van der Hoop is the Assistant Editor of The Write Life. When she isn't freelance writing and editing, she can usually be found reading about the latest scientific advances and climbing rocks, mountains, and trees.... .

Heather van der Hoop | @heathervdh

Heather van der Hoop
Danny Iny from Firepole Marketing

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Comments

  1. I have bought a couple of books specifically teaching you how to speed read. Yet still I read quite slowly, taking my time to comprehend what I am reading.

    Any app that can help me improve my reading speed would be fantastic, (I have a personal goal to read 100 classic literature books over the next 4 years).

    • I think it’s cool that the team behind this app spent three years learning about current speed-reading techniques and figuring out how to improve upon them. They say that it takes a bit of time and practice to get used to spritzing, but it certainly seems like an interesting option!

      I like your goal, Katherine — best of luck!

  2. I just gotta say it — writers spend so much time crafting the perfect prose, they don’t want their readers zipping through it.

    I can hear my mother, “I spent all day cooking that dinner and you ate it in 15 minutes!”

    • True, Kathryn — it’s good to consider it from both angles. I don’t know that I’d want to use Spritz for fiction reading, where pace is so important and I often re-read particularly awesome sentences. But it is an interesting idea for things you might want to get through faster, especially since their tests have shown the same level of comprehension as regular reading. I could see this becoming a popular way to read textbooks, for example. I’m looking forward to seeing how it develops!

  3. Katie O'Hara says:

    Went to the website to try the demonstration, and that was kind of fun. An issue I noticed was that when it got to a word I didn’t recognize (when it started talking about the methodology and using acronyms) it made reading the next few words pretty much impossible since my brain was still “stuck” on the one I didn’t know. That was at a pretty high speed, though, and it was my first time trying it, so it might be something you could get used to. Or, being able to pause the words might help; I didn’t look around on the site to see if that feature is available.

    Overall, it seems interesting and possibly useful, for e-mails and web content. I don’t think I could handle reading a novel like that, though!

    • Great point, Katie — I don’t know whether there’s a way to pause or rewind if you miss a word. And I agree, I think it’ll take some experimenting to figure out whether it works for you and for which kinds of reading.

  4. Many people can double their reading speed and improve their concentration by reading the material that’s important to them early in the day.
    1.Create three piles for your reading materials – important, moderately important, and least important. Then read the material in their order of importance. You’ll improve your reading speed by doing this, and improve your reading comprehension by getting to the important material first, when your mind is clear and sharp.
    2.Improve your reading comprehension, reading speed, and concentration by turning headings and subheadings in textbooks and other nonfiction books into questions. Then scan the text for the answers. Your reading speed improves by doing this, and you become focused on your material.

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