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Old 09-20-2013, 10:41 AM   #1
Bob Russell
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Software to help you speed read?

Seems that someone wants to replace the old Evelyn Wood method of speed reading with a technology assisted e-reader app. According to AppAdvice, there's an iPhone app that helps you speed read by flashing words on the screen quickly so you don't have time to say the words in your mind - that only slows you down.

I can't imagine how this would be easier than building the techniques and skills used to read "normally displayed" text quickly, but hey, we've all been surprised before at what an app can do for us. This one also lets you read news and web sites that you have saved in Instapaper or Pocket.

Would be interested to hear if anyone has experience with this method of speed reading, whether using this app or other software.
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Old 09-20-2013, 04:16 PM   #2
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I have used them in the past, but not lately. I've found it very useful, especially when I was mentally distracted or had a hard time focusing, and kept reading the same line, over and over.

It's similar theory to reading in narrow columns. I read faster, and am more focused, when I read in narrow columns. For me, it seems to create a mental rhythm.

Here's the one I've used online.

http://www.spreeder.com/
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Old 09-20-2013, 08:16 PM   #3
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Thanks SolRaven... it was interesting to try. I seem to read in spreeder more like 300 wpm, and have already gotten rid of the artificial "sound it out" barrier. Maybe because I actually did study the Evelyn Wood speed reading information. I think I can read faster in a column than in spreeder, but hard to tell.

And of course any materials that aren't "simple" will require slower reading because there is thinking behind the scenes. Try reading a graduate math text at 300 wpm. I don't think you will pick up much at all!
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Old 09-20-2013, 10:39 PM   #4
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I've tried Quickreader and Fastr, both iOS apps. Quickreader has a full page of text with a moving line that you have to keep up with. Faster flashes word groups on the screen. I like the Quickreader method better. I don't seem to absorb what I am reading as well with Fastr. Also Quickreader makes it easier to adjust the speed as you are reading and switch between normal reading and speed practice. It has a lot of great customization and options for importing books and other text.

When I first got Quickreader, I increased my speed from about 220 wpm to 350-380, depending on how tired I am. I was never able to break that barrier and eventually stopped trying, especially when most of my reading is for entertainment. I do think it helped me comprehend and retain more when skimming things like web articles and non-fiction reading.
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Old 09-20-2013, 10:41 PM   #5
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I had heard about speed reading before and always wondered what the point was. This is only being used for non-pleasure reading, correct?

I tried the link SolRaven posted with an online article at 500wpm and it was doable, as long as there weren't any "big words". Maybe I should try reading the Apple T&Cs through that tool

Does anyone know if reading by sounding words out takes longer in English than, say, in Italian, where words are written exactly how they are pronounced?
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Old 09-21-2013, 12:22 AM   #6
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Count me as another person who also has always wondered why anyone would want to speedread. It always seemed as if it would remove the fun from reading.
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Old 09-21-2013, 02:36 AM   #7
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I've always thought I was reading fast enough as it was - having given spreeder a go, and never having tried an form of speed reading before, I found the default 300wpm slooow, have no problems at 600wpm, can keep up at 900wpm and started "missing" words at 1000wpm.

Xendula's idea of using the thing for lengthy T&Cs is excellent And for that purpose, site duly bookmarked, thanks SolRaven for the link.

Last edited by Yolina; 09-21-2013 at 02:44 AM.
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Old 09-21-2013, 12:42 PM   #8
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Count me as another person who also has always wondered why anyone would want to speedread. It always seemed as if it would remove the fun from reading.
I think that most people that read often are speed readers. Or it might be helpful if you grow up in a country where films have subtitles. I can tell the difference if I am trying to read in a language that I'm not sufficiently familiar with and I have to say the words in my mind.

I was looking at the wikipedia article on speed reading and what I had considered speed reading before is technically skimming. This is something that I was used to doing before tests and for casual reading I still do if I didn't finish reading a book a while ago and I want to pick up where I left off.

I occasionally read at a speed between my normal reading speed and skimming speed if the book that I'm reading has some tedious descriptions or monologues.
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Old 09-21-2013, 06:31 PM   #9
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My feeling is that speed reading isn't for everything, but it gives you the power choose how much time you spend on passages, without feeling like you missed it completely. Reading sections fast helps me enjoy novels more, because boring sections don't take such a toll.

One of my pet peeves is authors that hide critical story elements buried obscurely in just a few words in a boring section. So I skim and get burned later.
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Old 09-21-2013, 06:38 PM   #10
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eyeQ is a great piece of software for training your reading speed.
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Old 09-21-2013, 07:43 PM   #11
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One of my pet peeves is authors that hide critical story elements buried obscurely in just a few words in a boring section. So I skim and get burned later.
That seems to me to be a feature since skimming is not reading. Why read the book at all if you skim part of it? Why not read a synopsis instead?
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Old 09-21-2013, 11:03 PM   #12
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That seems to me to be a feature since skimming is not reading. Why read the book at all if you skim part of it? Why not read a synopsis instead?
I'm with Bob on this one. When I read fantasy, I try to skim the fighting scenes, if there are any, because I could care less about what weapon was used on whom or what - I just need to know who survived in the end. I usually care about the rest of the story, just don't need detailed fighting scenes.
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Old 09-22-2013, 04:49 AM   #13
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I'm with Bob on this one. When I read fantasy, I try to skim the fighting scenes, if there are any, because I could care less about what weapon was used on whom or what - I just need to know who survived in the end. I usually care about the rest of the story, just don't need detailed fighting scenes.
Well if the book is bad... But a book is not just the story. It is a total experience and if the book is not bad the fighting scenes are there for the total experience of the book also.

I dislike boring fighting scenes also but my reaction is to try to avoid books with boring fighting scenes. But books by Abercrombie and Glen Cook (Black Company) have fighting scenes that are integral to the books.
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Old 09-22-2013, 10:41 AM   #14
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...When I read fantasy, I try to skim the fighting scenes, if there are any, because I could care less about what weapon was used on whom or what - I just need to know who survived in the end. I usually care about the rest of the story, just don't need detailed fighting scenes.
Heh - yep! I do exactly that with so many novels - the fight scenes or love scenes or travel descriptions go on and on, and unless they are especially skilled as authors, it's just the same old stuff you see in books and movies over and over. Nothing interesting.

Or maybe they get devoted to long passages for a subplot that I just don't enjoy. Or just get bogged down in the middle parts where nothing is happening.

Skimming becomes the only reason I don't just put the book down and start another!

A very rare set of books, however, grab my attention not just in terms of wanting to know what is going to happen next, but delighting in every sentence. Sometimes the words are just a joy to read, and every moment is fun. I wish I could find more books like that, which also have a strong overall plot.

Usually, it seems an author either gives you either a great plot or exceptionally beautiful writing, but not both.

And, you know, I think this is also what tompe was getting at. If the writing is beautiful, it's not about the plot and what happens next - it's also about enjoying the word journey and the experience.
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Old 09-23-2013, 06:08 PM   #15
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I went through a short stage where I tried to pay attention to writing style and writing quality. Slowed down my reading quite a bit, which didn't bother me. It also lessened my my enjoyment level which did bother me. I tend to get lost or immersed in a book. The more I am enjoying the book, the faster I read it.

Generally I read pretty fast, which actually used to annoy me slightly because I don't enjoy rereading. Now that I have an ereader and instant access to almost any book I might want to read, it is overall a good thing.

I don't think most speed readers, whether natural or those who have taken courses, always skim or read as fast as they can. I read about 300WPM on an ereader, slightly faster with paper, and my average score on reading tests online, is 480 WPM. Entrance exams, or aptitude tests are quite a bit higher, 600-700 WPM with 80% retention, but I really tried hard on those I can't see enjoying a book or even retaining an interest in what I am reading at those speeds.

I think that taking a speed reading course will up your reading speed without lessening your enjoyment, as long as you don't consciously try to read everything as fast as possible. And unless studying a lot of material who cares how fast you read. It is interesting to know, but that is about it.

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