Speed-Reading: Examining The Debate and Top Tools to Get Started on Your Reading Goals
Speed-reading is a technique that aims to increase the rate at which people read text materials. Some believe that it is a useful skill that one can acquire to help them achieve more, while others doubt its effectiveness and advise against it. In recent times, there has been a surge in the popularity of speed-reading due to the availability of apps and websites offering such services. This article examines the debate on speed-reading and lists the top five apps and websites to get anyone started on their speed-reading goals.
Understanding The Debate on Speed-Reading?
In one corner of the debate are the speed-reading believers. These proponents claim that speed-reading is an essential skill that can help people to absorb information faster, increase their reading time, and improve their productivity. They argue that speed-reading involves using techniques such as skimming, chunking, and eliminating subvocalization to enable quicker reading of text. With these techniques, individuals can read more books, papers, and other materials in a shorter period.
In the opposite corner of the debate are the speed-reading doubters. These people argue that speed-reading is not as effective as its proponents claim. They argue that reading faster comes with a lower comprehension rate, which ultimately defeats the goal of reading in the first place. They argue that people who engage in speed-reading often focus on the physical act of reading while overlooking the understanding of the material. Therefore, they believe that it is better to read at a regular pace, allowing readers to better understand the material, and improve critical thinking skills.
What is Skimming, Chunking, and Eliminating Subvocalization?
Skimming is a speed-reading technique that involves reading through a text rapidly to get a general understanding of the material. Skimming does not involve reading word-by-word or sentence-by-sentence through the material. Instead, readers look out for keywords and phrases that will help them understand the central theme or concept of the material.
Chunking works by breaking down larger sections of text into smaller segments. Once the reader grasps the meaning of each mini-section, they put them together to make more meaning out of the material. This technique helps reduce word-by-word reading, and readers can improve pace by reading several words at a time.
Eliminating subvocalization is a technique that involves reading with your eyes only and not subvocalizing the words in your head. People read at different speeds, and subvocalization is a method that some readers use to improve their comprehension and pace. However, proponents of speed-reading argue that eliminating subvocalization can help increase reading speed and reduce eye movements.
Top Five Speed-Reading Apps and Websites
Squirt is a web app for speed-reading that you can install to your bookmarks bar. It works with HTTPS sites like Medium.com and even Gmail. Users drag the Squirt bookmarklet to their bookmarks bar, and when they come across any text material, clicking on the bookmark activates Squirt. It instantly launches, counts down, and displays the materials one word at a time in quick succession.
Spritz is a speed-reading web app that only shows one word for each line. The app presents text at a predetermined speed, much like words on a teleprompter, which eliminates backtracking and reduces eye movement. Spritz’s website claims that its tech can integrate with videos, photos, and maps. It provides users with variable speed control to suit individual pace.
Spreeder is a free web-based app that you use to speed-read online content. It allows users to copy and paste the text into the app, or save the Spreeder bookmarklet on your browser. Users highlight the text material they want to read, and then click on the bookmarklet. Spreeder, opens in a new window/tab displaying the text material, allowing readers to read quickly across smaller portions of text.
4. Speed-Read (iOS app)
Speed-Read is an iOS app that allows users to transform their iPhone or iPad into a speed-reading device. The app costs $2.99 and provides users with customizable font size, highlighting, and reading speed options. It allows readers to speed-read webpages, documents, ebooks, and apps like Pocket and Instapaper on their Apple devices.
Eyercize is a free bookmarking tool that works by bolding three or four groups of words at a time, enabling readers to follow the pace the software sets. This tool is available for download and works well for beta software. It provides users with control over other features like the speed of the pacer, the number of bolded words, and other elements that allow the user to ease into the technique at their own pace.
Speed-reading is a technique that one can use to improve reading speed and productivity. However, people have different opinions regarding its effectiveness and pros and cons. People who are interested in speed-reading can try out different tools and apps to determine which method works best for them. The above-listed apps and tools can provide users with a starting point to start on their speed-reading goals.