March 9, 2014 by Kira Lyn Blue
Ever 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:
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.