Thursday, April 10, 2014

Speed Reading Apps... Are they the future of reading?

Okay, when I heard about speed reading apps such as Velocity and Spritz, I thought it was crazy, but play along, okay?

Go here and copy the text of this article, "Don't Mock Speed Reading Apps. They are Life-Changing" by Jim Pagels.

Then go here to Spreeder and paste the text in the window.

The Spreeder window.

It will take you just 3 minutes and five seconds to read the whole article as it's fed to you FAST.

Pros to consider:

You do read faster than normal (certainly I did) and evidently can train yourself, as Jim explains in his Slate article, to read faster and faster.

It eliminates multi-tasking while reading something because the program demands your full attention.Your mind and eyes cannot wander or you lose the thread of what you're reading entirely. (I liked the metaphor that it's like a treadmill for your eyes, and you can't just stop while running on a treadmill or you'll fall off.)

Cons to consider:

Formatting is eliminated.

Savoring and digesting what you're reading is secondary to speed.

But that was a nonfiction article.  How about fiction?

Here's the text from the first page of E.B. White's masterwork, "Charlotte's Web." What's it like to read it via Spreeder?

Copy this:


1. Before Breakfast
WHERE'S Papa going with that ax" said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast.
"Out to the hoghouse," replied Mrs. Arable. "Some pigs were born last night."
"I don't see why he needs an ax," continued Fern, who was only eight.
"Well," said her mother, "one of the pigs is a runt. It's very small and weak, and it will never amount to anything. So your father has decided to do away with it."
"Do away with it? shrieked Fern. "You mean kill it? Just because it's smaller than the others?"
Mrs. Arable put a pitcher of cream on the table. "Don't yell, Fern!" she said. "Your father is right. The pig would probably die anyway."
Fern pushed a chair out of the way and ran outdoors. The grass was wet and the earth smelled of springtime. Fern's sneakers were sopping by the time she caught up with her father.


And paste it in the Spreeder Window.

Hit play, and see what you think.

Maybe a tool for writers to make sure every word really counts?

Share what you think in comments.

Illustrate and Write On,

ps - My thanks to the "Need for Speed" Cassandra post for the links mentioned above.

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