Reading Quickly Through Technology

August 9th, 2009 by Miles Leave a reply »

Curiosity drives me.  And I wish I had time for reading almost everything.  My friend Christine makes fun of me for my 20+ page Amazon wish list.

I didn’t always read very well or very quickly.  Growing up and didn’t read a grade level until about 3rd grade.  While I was learning to read for myself, I relied on a technology called Mom to get the content I wanted (thanks!).  She read me The Lord of the Rings and Sherlock Holmes to me in full, for example.  Wow – that’s dedication.

In fact, I used to wish for a “reading machine” and I guess Ray Kurzweil and now Amazon built it.  My brother recently got a Kindle and showed me the read aloud feature, which is pretty neat.  You can get some audio content sped up (see Podshifter for example).  But if you really want to get information fast, there’s nothing that beats reading.

I probably read unassisted around 300 WPM.  I’ve toyed with but never seriously practiced speed reading techniques – instead I’ve found technology for it.

Tim Ferriss recently blogged on his approach to getting his unassisted reading speed up to 1000+ WPM.  What do you think?  Does it work for you?

I’ve got RapidReader installed on my personal computer (disclaimer: I got a free copy) and use Reasy Reader for web reading at home and at the office.  Both display words or phrases on the screen at speeds that may be twice or three times your normal speed.

When I talked to the founder of RapidReader, he told me it’s more complicated than just displaying the words quickly on the screen.  To do it well, they modulate the pacing slightly based on punctuation and other bits of sentence structure.

Also, to get your speed up, you’ll want to crank the WPM really high beyond comfortable comprehension so that you’re flooded.  Then you can bring it down a bit.  It’s this process of continually pushing your boundaries that will train you to read faster.

I guess I should give the unassisted speed reading a try again.  Can’t rely on Mom or Reasy Reader forever…

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