How'd you do? Worse than you expected? Are you a college graduate reading at the supposed level of an 11th grade student? A high-level executive reading like an average college graduate? Don't worry. A new app is about to make it easier for most of us to read faster than we would read the average page of text.
Try reading with the service at 250 words per minute:
Now, let's double it. 500 words per minute:
Give it a couple tries and, surprising, it's easier than you might have expected to read at 500 words per minute.
The idea behind Spritz is that the service shows you one word at a time, rapidly, in the same place. That way you don't waste time moving your eyes back and forth to scan a document, email, this article, or whatever else you're reading, and you can read faster.
As Spritz explains on its website: "Spritz makes streaming your content easy and more comfortable, especially on small displays. Our "Redicle" technology enhances readability even more by using horizontal lines and hash marks to direct your eyes to the red letter in each word, so you can focus on the content that interests you."
The company says it's in the process of licensing the technology to numerous companies, from mobile device manufacturers to e-book companies. And their intended applications are many: email, social media, text messages, digital books. It could be used in everything from wearables like Google Glass to smart watches to outdoor ads.
Spritz will debut in an email application in the new Samsung Galaxy S5 and the Samsung Gear 2 smartwatch, according to re/code.
Based on limited interaction with the technology, it certainly seems like a well-executed technology boost to reading time. But there are some concerns:
You might be able to read the first Harry Potter book in 77 minutes, but what if you blink?
What if you lose focus for a split second and miss a section of what you're reading? How do you go back?
How does content retention compare with traditional reading methods?
Will Times Square one day turn into Spritz, seizure-inducing madness with all the billboards using the technology?
For more information about how Spritz works, go here.
Does anyone remember BlipVerts from the Max Headroom show in the mid-1980's? Very short advertisements were presented on TV in rapid succession. For some people it was too much -- their heads exploded.
I think I'd like this better if it displayed more words at a time. Currently, this is like driving fast with tunnel vision. When I speed-read, I take in whole phrases or even sentences at once, and my attention is concentrated on key words and longer words. This app gives the same time to "a" and "indefatigably" (except when it breaks up long words, which I found confusing).
Pretty slick I must admit, but there are a couple problems I see.
First off, I can read at some ridiculous rate. I demonstrated that long ago in school. I read for pleasure though and what I learned is that I could not get pleasure out of reading at that speed, so what is the point? I can eat remarkably fast, but I like to savor it. I hate it when a good book series ends... and you mention Harry Potter in 77 minutes. Begone you pest. OK, I am also a software developer. Speed serves me no purpose when I need to understand technical articles. It is most easy to miss the critical points and then how do you go back with this? ... Really, you need to see whole sentences at minimum in that case.
Also as a minor thing, it is not reading letter by letter, it is reading word by word. Researchers have shown that good readers read by the shape of the entire word... I read that kind of thing.
I am sure that this tool has its place, but it is certainly not for reading pleasure or education. Maybe it is just for data input.
Related to this is that I sue the Dragon Writer. What an amazing tool, but it is only a typing aid, not a creating aid. Anyone that imagines it helps with real writing, hasn't used it. You must still compose with though and that is the problem of this and so many "time saving" technologies. The limit is thought, which a tool may or may not help with. ... Then again, I can tell you something about how to solve that problem if you really want, just read my book.
PS.. I write for pleasure at www.diver.net/seahunt ... If you like the ocean, you should check it out.
This product (assuming it's from the same company) used to be called "Ace Reader Pro".
It's ok for reading news and other non-fiction work (assuming the news is non-fiction), but I don't recommend it for the likes of Harry Potter.
I'm not fan of sub-vocalization (reading under your breath), but for fiction, many if not all of us tend to build a picture in our minds of the events transpiring in books like Harry Potter, et al, which is pretty difficult when reading fast.
It also takes some practice with speed reading tools and techniques to process and/or retain what you have read.
I'm not knocking it, but I would be more likely to turn on text to speach and let my computer read an article to me rather than keep focused on the word target.
For those of us, not suffering from cognitive deficits and vision problems, it is may be a useful tool to have on hand.
Surely they, and you for repeating this, must be joking.
Why is this remotely seen as a good thing, as it goes against convention on how language is presented, absorbed and processed - and more importantly taught to children.
You might read Harry Potter in a robot like fashion in 77 minutes, but the joy of taking it in and immersing yourself in the story and your interpretation of it will all be lost trying to keep up. As the linked article says "Not exactly a pleasant sensation". The joy of reading will end up binned.
However, there might be a niche application for screen limited displays like watches, pre-Smartphone basic phones, advertising (buses, trains, building etc). I'd much prefer watching Bob Dylan's Subterranean Homesick Blues - as this is little more than that, just without the great music.
Curious how they are attempting to licence scrolling text - This was something almost everyone did, perhaps typed in from a computer magazine, in the 1980's scrolling a message across the screen of your BBC Micro, Sinclair ZX81/Spectrum. Commodore 64 etc
Do you need to read @ 500/wpm, and other than consuming words, do you actually benefit from this - I'm thinking comprehension, digestion, understanding of the ideas, story or discussion. I could probably read at 200-300/wpm myself, but none of it would go in really, I'd just be processing the words as fast as I can.
@Neil Postlethwaite I agree with you. "the joy of taking it in and immersing yourself in the story and your interpretation of it will all be lost trying to keep up" is the key. For some, possibly people in school, if it is a required subject that you have no interest in but need to learn a bunch of facts, this might work. However, for poetry and fictional literature (like Harry Potter) you don't have the time to build the imagery and characters in a particular setting, you miss the suspension of disbelief, if all you catch are facts. Do you think you really would have caught the issue of Animal Farm if you read at high speed?
I read at least one book per week, for enjoyment, and happen to do this in e-format. To keep my mind sharp, I started reading two books of same genre (sometimes same author) at the same time (change at chapters) so that I have to keep two story's plots and characters separated. Would reading fast help in that?
@Neil Postlethwaite@cping500 Speed-reading is very useful for consuming large volumes of non-fiction. Consider textbooks, legal documents, etc. With proper practice, speed readers can retain just as much if not more than traditional readers. However, I'd recommend traditional speed-reading methods (like eliminating sub-vocalization and reading word groups), rather than this.
If that works for you, that's great, but I think for the rest of us, we'll take our time, and digest, appreciate and understand the text properly. For legal/textbooks, if it gets you to the place/subject/case/experiment you want, and then you slow down - that's a great use of this. Like driving to the beautiful Hana Highway in Hawaii or Lake Como shore route in Italy at 100mph, and slowing, way down when you get there, to take it all in - as an analogy.
Fully agree with you, that this is a gimmick, that seems designed to increase processing of words, in compromised situations/devices, but not comprehension.