I hope that this technology does not sacrifice meaning for the sake of hitting some arbitrary reading speed. Not widely recognised is the fact that the English verb operates under an 'exclusive OR' decision condition. Verbs can relate to the 'past' or not the past - called the 'non-past.' If this does not match the verb's tense, of which there are only two, the 'past' and the 'non-past,' then there is a subliminal message as to how the writer wishes the reader to regard the verb.
For example, Bob Seger has a song, 'Against the Wind.' in which is found the following: "I wish I did not now, what I did not know then." Both verbs have the same words, but, thanks to the Ex-Or decision, their meaning is opposite. It is essential that children absorb that mechanism, otherwise they will learn to answer the question: "Could you open the door?" said by someone with their arms full, with: "Not until I was tall enough."
Reading words in isolation might just prove harmful to the learning process..
Secondly, there is the question of non-fiction. Sometimes one has to go over the same text again slowly in order to absorb the information that is being presented. I think I would get cross with having to manage the system so that I can go over what I want to re-read and not what the system thinks I want to re-read. Furthermore, sometimes I wish to compare texts from different parts of the page, or even the book, in order to cross-check. This could lead to having the need for two Kindles, or whatever e-reader one is using.
In summary, o,k. for adults accessing fiction, or text messages, but otherwise, it is an unwanted solution looking for an imagined problem.
5th March, 2014 @ 1:57 a.m. (California Time)
If the one word window box could be in conjunction with a window containing the paragraph being read at the time (maybe with the possibility to zoom in and out), then it would be easy to jump back and forth in the text by simply pointing. I hope to be able to beta-test this service.
5th March, 2014 @ 3:08 a.m. (California Time)
@Mel Tisdale, I agree. "Getting" all the words is not the same as "getting" the information and knowledge being conveyed.
5th March, 2014 @ 4:54 a.m. (California Time)
Wordflashreader (amongst others) is already available.
Its a free download - and having had a quick try it does seem to really work. Not so much reading as just letting it register.
5th March, 2014 @ 7:38 a.m. (California Time)
It would not be appropriate for situations in which one would want to linger on a writer's way of saying things, but for getting information into the brain it should be fine. Would it not be even faster if phrases were shot at you rather than individual words?
5th March, 2014 @ 8:28 a.m. (California Time)
I think this is a very good idea for many people, but I personally read at more than 1000 words a minute already, have since I was in middle school, so I doubt it would help readers who are fast already. But, I think they should find out by including fast readers in their study groups. For example, for fast readers, I do NOT think it will help to break up long words - I found this significantly slowed my reading - so there should be an option not to do that in any commercial version.
5th March, 2014 @ 8:34 a.m. (California Time)
Agree with comments that this would be most annoying when deep, serious comprehension required. Prob ok for short trivial matters.
5th March, 2014 @ 8:42 a.m. (California Time)
I'm concerned about the eyes not getting enough exercise if you are looking straight ahead during the entire read, rather than moving across the page from left to right and from top to bottom. What is there to compensate for this?
5th March, 2014 @ 9:04 a.m. (California Time)
There is already speedreading, which President JFK used for reading James Bond books and who knows what else. Electronics allow Spritz (gimmick?) and other devices to make unnecessary the brain and eye muscle efforts that went into speedreading. And there will be more such devices, methods, systems, and software programs. Surely, it will be worthwhile to many, and perhaps detrimental to others. The collective balance in human value will be up to us.
Hervin Romney AIA
5th March, 2014 @ 9:08 a.m. (California Time)
For Information: I read entire paragraphs at a time when I'm scanning a page for relevant information--this would hinder me.
For Fiction: A modest and variable rate of reading is the point of fiction reading, right? It's a scenic journey, not a race.
Perhaps this could be useful for hard-core info retention--since you have to focus your whole attention not to miss a word.
5th March, 2014 @ 9:47 a.m. (California Time)
5th March, 2014 @ 10:32 a.m. (California Time)
It is a treadmill reading for the eyes. Enjoying the resonance may become antiquated.
Your eye muscles and neck muscles will both stiffen, adding more to the modern day 'office syndromes'.
The 'inefficient' speed in the traditional reading allows us to think while reading.
Depending on the speed, can't they send us some subliminal messages as well? The ads on the net are already annoying enough, and I hate to see the day when we will be bombarded with subliminal ads such as brand recognition and recommendations based on our taste.
5th March, 2014 @ 11:19 a.m. (California Time)
Very interesting read. I foresee that in less than 5 years, we will all be using these-pretty convincing article-and example.
However, I would like to see some testing of the effects of using this technology full time. Are there unforeseen side effects?
Be nice if we can use a precautionary principle here and not dive into a technology that has long term impacts that get buried by profits.
5th March, 2014 @ 9:35 p.m. (California Time)
I'm not sure that faster reading leads to worse reading comprehension. Is there anything to suggest this is the case or is everyone guessing that this would happen?
Perhaps by reading faster the sentences and ideas flow better overall, leading to better understanding? Is there ever a case where someone who struggles to read fast also has perfectly good understanding? From what I've seen (which, I'll admit, is limited) those that don't read well and read slowly also have trouble understanding what they've read.
Finally, nothing says you can't pause and think about what was read. I do this even when I'm marathon reading. Those of us that like to think about what we've read a bit deeper can continue to do so.
6th March, 2014 @ 7:13 a.m. (California Time)
This technique is great for fast-paced choose-your-own-adventure-style games: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.wolfbutler.DiamondFind
6th March, 2014 @ 12:29 p.m. (California Time)
The viewer facing camera in most mobile devices could be used to cue the reader by watching eye motion. Shifting the eyes to the left by varying degrees could cause Spritz to backup in the text.
Can't wait to get it for my various reading devices and I hope Amazon makes it a feature of the Kindle reader app.
6th March, 2014 @ 5:52 p.m. (California Time)
Neat. Really neat actually.
I used to read a lot faster (8k) than I do now (500). Reading college math, chemistry, and physics texts put a real brake on reading speed. I have not been able to recover even when just reading casual literature.
Following suggestions of several commentators above I could see a version with a thumb slider control that could increase or decrease the display speed and options for number of characters to display at one time. Having an overview of what you are reading (using a larger screen) with options to navigate, highlight, and add notes would be very useful.
An auto pause feature using a tracking camera for when you blink or look away would also be a nice/necessary function.
WordFlashReader has a lot of these features. Requires a keyboard?
The more I think about this the more I like it. E-reader, smart phone versions could be very useful.
Your mind can do amazing things regarding word recognition. It will read words with the letters scrambled as quickly or almost as quickly as words with letters in the correct order. Your mind can also play tricks, and miss or skip important words when anticipating what is going to be read.
I wonder how this technology will fare during extended reading periods.
I think I would spend money on a well developed, full featured, cross application version.
6th March, 2014 @ 9:01 p.m. (California Time)
This 'app' has been around since at least the '70s having been developed by DARPA as a crisis management tool.
7th March, 2014 @ 6:06 a.m. (California Time)
I can see how this might be useful in certain situations. However, I'm a proofreader and it took me three passes at 350 wpm to realize they were using "your" instead of "you're".
7th March, 2014 @ 9:26 a.m. (California Time)
Really like the idea.
Need to add a delay factor in proportion to the popularity and length of the word. So if I've never seen a word before and it's 13 chars long, it lingers a little longer then "it" or "the". The fix speed per word is not effective enough.
7th March, 2014 @ 11:49 a.m. (California Time)
I hope the future app allows slower reading speeds too. My young son, who normally has a hard time reading was doing pretty well at 250 wpd rate, but a somewhat slower rate would have been much better for him. Using Spritz he seemed to be reading much better than without it.
Also, it would be helpful if the app could be used to read text on the Internet and in conjunction with eBooks. That would give both him and me a large set of reading material.
7th March, 2014 @ 1:46 p.m. (California Time)
I actually invented Flash Reader (http://flashreaderapp.com) back in 2010. It is, as far as I know, the first speed reader on iOS and the first speed reader that I knew of, as I came up with the idea of showing one word at a time at user set speed (words per minute). This has spiralled to several clones and similar speed readers, but I'm just pointing out that I was there first. At the moment, Flash Reader also boasts unrivalled document format support, with even more formats and new ways to read coming in the upcoming updates.
8th March, 2014 @ 6:32 a.m. (California Time)
'Your' is correct.
It says "...your current spritzing speed is 350WPM"
Matrix Key Systems
9th March, 2014 @ 10:48 p.m. (California Time)
I have no problem reading about 1600 words per minute if the words is presented one by one at a screen. But when reading a book for example, most of the time is used to move the eyes along the lines, then the speed is slowed to about 400 wpm.
14th March, 2014 @ 2:09 a.m. (California Time)
I liked the 350 words but 500 words were too fast.
21st March, 2014 @ 3:11 p.m. (California Time)