What do you think of the new speed-reading app?


March 9, 2014 by Kira Lyn Blue

karate-school-speed-readingEver wanted to read faster? Well now there’s an app for that. It’s called Spritz and boasts that it can have you reading up to 1000 words per minute.

Now, I’m a pretty fast reader and can tear through an average-sized novel in a day or less. But this app could potentially have me finishing the first Harry Potter book in 90 minutes. Mind = blown. If you’re curious about your own current reading speed, try one of these online tests:

Staples eReader Test

Speed Reading Test Online

I can’t vouch for the accuracy of either test, but it should at least give you a ballpark. I’m apparently somewhere between 500 and 750 wpm. Okay, that’s a pretty big ballpark. But the average reader is between 250-300 wpm and with an app rather than traditional speed-reading techniques they could easily match or exceed my speed.

This HuffPo article has some embedded demos so you can see for yourself how it works.

I really can’t decide if I think it’s awesome or just… meh.

For starters, the 500 wpm demo in the HuffPo article is uncomfortable for me to follow, but I supposedly read at that speed normally. Now that might just be because I’m so used to reading by moving my eyes instead of staring at a fixed point, so it just feels awkward because I’m unused to it.

Second, having not actually tried the real app, I have no idea how it works in the event you need to pause. What happens if you get distracted and look away for a second while the words keep flashing by? How you find your place and back up to the beginning of the words you missed?

Third, I’m just not sure I want to read faster. I go through over 200 books in a year as it is and I’m not sure my wallet could support buying more books to fill an increased reading capacity. And when reading for fun and entertainment, I don’t necessarily want to rush; I want to savor. Then again, if you ask The Husband, he says there’s no way I can be savoring now at the speed at which I read. Which I think is just silly. So might I not think the same thing if I was using Spritz?

Where I can really see the potential benefit is in non-entertainment reading. As the above Forbes article talked about, successful people need to inhale and process lots of information. If I needed to get through educational texts, technical papers, or research material, I think Sprizting could help immensely. Most especially since I tend to zone out and fall asleep when reading non-fiction texts. I would think that using Spritz, I would be more focused on the words flashing by and be less likely to drift.

In general though, I’m just not sold on it for my own use.

Then again, if you’d asked me three years ago what I thought of the Kindle I would have told you it was the most heinous thing I could imagine. No paper pages to run my fingers through? No being able to page forward to see how close I am to the end of a chapter? No stacks of books with beautiful covers to line my bookshelves? No signed first-editions?

And it turns out that I was more than willing to give all those things up for the Kindle which I now can’t live without. So, maybe I could get used to Spritzing, too.

So, what do you all think about Spritzing? Awesome or Awful?

11 thoughts on “What do you think of the new speed-reading app?

  1. Dave Higgins says:

    It might work for some people, but it does not work for me.

    Based on feedback from people who have watched me read, my eyes flick down a page in jagged leaps, so I am read by glancing at most of a paragraph then moving my eyes on while my brain comprehends it.

    But then, according the tests I am in the top 1% of readers, so the program is probably not targeted at me.

  2. Erica Dakin says:

    Like you say, I feel no need to rush my reading. I read fast enough for my liking, and no matter what speed readers say, I’m just not convinced that you absorb as much information when speed reading. I don’t even want to consider audiobooks because I can’t just reread a paragraph when I want to.

    • There’s a rewind button! I’m kidding, I understand the feeling. It’s much easier to flick your eyes back up a half inch than it is to pause and playback. I prefer to read books on my own, but I do love audiobooks for car rides. Maybe spritzing has its own place, too.

  3. When I finish a book, it takes time to choose the next one. Taking time with my current read gives me time to come across candidates for my next book. Speedreading would give me added pressure on finding my next book…

  4. I have never really considered speed reading before. I’m just blow away that there’s an app for that. There REALLY is an app for everything!

  5. Kate Sparkes says:

    I’d love it for reading the news and maybe for non-fiction, but I can’t imagine being able to immerse myself in a novel without the eye movements or being able to vary my pace, stop to digest events, etc. I’m a fast reader, but it’s more important for me to enjoy a story than it is to get through it quickly.

    • I agree. I like being able to reread lines when I want to make sure I didn’t misinterpret what’s going on or pause to process clues that might help me guess where the author will go next. But, man wouldn’t it be great to get through a nonfiction book you’re reading as research for your writing in a couple hours so you could get back to the good stuff?

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