I’m a big reader, but these days, I simply don’t have the time to sit by my non-existent pool and leisurely digest the next Danielle Steel novel. I cant even tell you how many books are sitting on my bookshelf collecting dust, waiting to be read. But for those of you who have always wanted to be able to read at the speed of light, that opportunity has finally arrived in the form of a new speed-reading app known as Spritz.
The app basically allows you to set the speed of your reading between 250 words and 1000 words per minute. According to those rates, you could finish a Harry Potter novel in just an hour. So how exactly does it work? Typically when we read a book, our eyes spend time moving from line to line, but with Spritz, the screen shows all the words in place, flashing one after another, similar to flash cards.
Despite its big promise, some experts are slightly critical of this new method, which is also known as Rapid Serial Visual Presentation (RSVP). According to them, what you gain in speed you lose with understanding and retention. Michael Masson, a psychologist at the University of Victoria, told CNN, “If played at very high speeds, around 300 to 500 wpm, this is going to produce problems in comprehension. The difficulty is it’s not just the rate at which we see words, but it also takes time for us to comprehend what those words mean once we start putting them together.”
Spritz isn’t the only speed-reading app on the market. Others include Velocity for iOS and Spreeder. What differentiates Spritz from their competitors is the way it aligns the words by making one letter red in each one. The app claims that this provides a focal point for the eyes and “triggers the brain to recognize the word and process its meaning.”
Spritz has plans to license its technology to online newspapers and e-readers, and it is currently free on Samsung, although it may charge a subscription fee in the future. The CEO of Spritz, Frank Waldman, explained that they’re currently more focused on getting people to read in their way. It’s definitely worth giving a shot, although for me personally, I’m old school and there’s nothing quite like holding an actual book in my hands.