Tech Thursday: Have you tried speed reading to increase your reading fluency? Some free or cheap ways

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Why speed reading for dyslexia?

Recently there has been a lot of discussion about the speed reading app Spritz  in the media. The idea behind this approach to speed reading is that to save time on eye movement, you only see one word on the screen at a time. With this approach you can very soon achieve much higher reading speeds. You can read more here.

Would this help someone with dyslexia? The answer will be different for every individual. But it is possible that at least for some people with dyslexia speed reading could help increase their reading fluency and reduce eye strain. This may not work for everyone in every context but the good news is that it’s easy and free to try.

This post will show you some ways to get started with speed reading.

Dipping your toes in: Web-based speed reading

Step 1: Spritz demo

You can get a taste of speed reading without installing any software on the Spritz website

At the top of the page, you will see a little widget that will let you try speed reading at speeds from 250 to 600 words per minute. 

spritz

For some readers with dyslexia, even 250 words may be a bit too fast, but at least, you can see what the idea is. You can try speed reading at lower speeds later.

Step 2: Spreeder.com

Spreed

If you want to try speed reading on the web with your own text. You can try the Spreeder website.

Simply paste your text in and click the Spreed button. 

Speed spreed button

You can use the settings to change the reading speed to anything you want. Even 50-100 words per minute.

Speed reading on your computer

If you liked the taste of speed reading, you may want to install a browser plug in. For this, you need to be using either Google Chrome or Firefox as your browser.

Spreed for Chrome

Using Spreed for Chrome could not be easier. Simply install it, then right click on any selected text and choose Spreed Selected Text.

Spreed selected text

You get a very simple interface with nice options for speed, font size, etc.

Spreed interface

Reasy for Firefox

Reasy works exactly the same way but on Firefox. The interface is not as nice, but the functionality is the same.

Reasy for Firefox

Speed reading on a phone or tablet

Once you’re sure, speed reading is right for you, you can take it to the next level with an app installed on your mobile phone or tablet. There are many apps (both free and paid for both iOS and Android). 

You can read more details about:

Here is one for each platform that we tried and liked:

A Faster Reader for Android

AFR (A Faster Reader) is a really simple app. To use it, you simply share any text to it, using the Android share function. It will then pop-up an overlay on top of the text and let you read it one word a time. 

Android reader

Once the app is running, you simply tap anywhere to pause it. You can then use the left button to jump one word back and the right button to increase or lower the speed.

speed change in AFR

The free version of the app only lets you read at speeds between 250 and 350 words per minute. But you can remove any limits for just 60 pence.

At the moment, AFR cannot open whole books of PDFs but it is a feature that is planned for release in the near future. 

An alternative that lets you load full books and PDFs is Speed Reader which is completely free but doesn’t have as nice an interface.

AFR are also planning a release of an iOS version but in the meantime, you can try one of the many other apps for iPhone and iPad.

Acceleread for iPhone and iPad

Most speed reading apps for the iOS platform are not free and in fact tend to be quite pricey. The one that lets you start for free is Acceleread which not only presents the text as a speed reader but also gives you guidance and tracks progress. However, the upgrade price is $4.99 for the iPhone and $7.99 for the iPad. This is similar to what the other speed reader apps cost.

Share your experiences

Have you tried speed reading? How was the experience for you? What method did you use? Please share your experiences so that we can better help others. 

If you could spare a few minutes, can you complete this brief anonymous survey about your speed reading experiences?

 

Dominik Lukes - Education and Technology Specialist