How fast can you read? Can you read faster and still comprehend as well? I’ve never been tested for speed reading by my comprehension seems more than acceptable for someone who’s fingers never seem to leave a keyboard.
Those of us who work in the school system see all sorts of tests for spelling, grammar, and reading comprehension, but I’m not sure I know of one that tests reading speed and matches it to comprehension. I know there are speed reading methods, though, and here’s a free one for Mac users.
Read Me, Speedy Lee
From what I know of the speed reading business, there are multiple methods to both test and enhance reading capability; in other words, ways to enhance speed while maintaining or even improving comprehension. Maybe it works and maybe it doesn’t but I’m not sure a problem is being solved for the masses.
Check out Speed Reader from the Mac App Store. It’s free. It helps you to read faster. At least, that’s what it says on the tin, and it seems that focusing on words as they move ever faster across a limited space on the Mac’s screen could help. Could.
The only real issue with reading speedily with Speed Reader is the number of steps to get into the speed reading mode. Text from articles you would read to practice speeding up your reading have to be entered into Speed Reader, either copy and paste, or open specific text files.
Speed Reader can decipher website pages so you get just the text– like Reader mode in Safari– and not all the cruft around it. The app detects the language of the article which makes it easier to adjust phrases for the speed reading window.
Did I not mention the speed reading window?
Somehow or another, so the story goes, reading a limited number of words at a time is the secret to speeding up your reading. I’ve noticed that in my own reading habits I read four or five words in advance but my eyes seem to scan a few words to a line or two ahead. Maybe that slows me down.
The idea here is distraction. Or, rather, distraction free text which requires your eyes to focus on words that are, for all intents and purposes, moving across the black portion of the pop up that contains your text rather quickly. Fast, even. You get adjustments for font, weight, size and the number of words per line on the screen. You can also adjust the actual speed the words are changed, and supposedly, that helps you become a better reader and to read faster.
Does it work?
At first, I got a headache. It wasn’t the price tag. Speed Reader is free. But after trying the Speed Reader technique for half an hour and then going back to regular reading on Safari, I noticed that I focused better; especially on the upcoming four or five words. I don’t know if I was reading faster. But I was trying.
Speed Reader is worth a try and you can’t beat the price.