QUIZ: Can You Read 500 Words Per Minute? Test Drive Speed Reading App Spritz

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QUIZ: Can You Read 500 Words Per Minute? Test Drive Speed Reading App Spritz

Reading is a huge waste of time. Wait! Not because it’s not intellectually fulfilling and creatively stimulating and your gateway to different worlds, but because of how we’re doing it. Did you know that most of the time (like, 80%) you spend reading is just your eyes moving?? We told you, major time waster.

That’s what new technology Spritz is trying to change by serving up speed reading realness that can get your words per minute up to 1,000. Psh, you’ll be able to read 50 Shades of Grey on your morning commute. Again. You’re used to moving your eyes from word to word as you read, but when doing that, your eye is searching for a point in each word, the Optimal Recognition Point. You find the ORP, your brain tinkers to figure out the meaning and context for each and then it’s on to the next. That’s a lot of work.

Skip reading and start spritzing, which takes the words on each page and flashes them one at a time with the ORP located in one spot where you’re already looking. Now there’s no need for your eyes to roam the page. Reading one word at a time also makes page-turning easier on a smaller device like a smartwatch or a smartphone — perfect because Spritz will work with apps on a couple devices we’re pretty excited about, the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Samsung Gear 2. Those devices aren’t out until April, but you can test your speed reading skills now with the quiz below!

Try it out at 250 wpm:



Total breeze, you got this! Now rev your reading engines up to 350 wpm:


Wipe the sweat off your brow and try 500 wpm:


Phew. Spritz goes up to twice as fast as this last one, but you’ll get there.


Using technology like Spritz would strip you of excuses for why you didn’t read the book before your next book club (sorry!). Plus, any presentations or articles on your work reading list would be a cinch to cram in. Let’s hope apps using Spritz team up with publications to deliver you your morning news as quickly as possible. Are SparkNotes still a thing with the kids these days? If so, they can cancel their e-subscription to them now with Spritz in the picture.

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This is an interesting way of actually getting 'around' speed reading. It's a different kind of speed reading I suppose. Far more limited. It actually requires a great deal more processing if you ask me, and more speed for the same result.


Let me explain.


So in this new approach, they set a center of vision, and then they emphasize that with a letter in that center in each line.


And they modify the justification of every line of text so that it is 'centered' on that center-line.


And you read one word (basically) at a time. Very very fast.


So you are not learning anything new at all.


You're just doing whatever you already did a whole lot faster.


In traditional speed reading, it works slightly differently.


In the older approach, the text is always justified that you are training with. That means both left and right sides are an even margin. Your eyes should never move. Initially you may train on a very narrow line like a word or three. The point is that you need to be able to look at a point in the middle and 'see' all of it. But it should be the same size so that there is no 'varying' in the focus of the eye.


Then the line expands, and you learn to "expand your peripheral vision" to include that. So now there are 4, 7, 12 words on one line. Now it is the full length of the line of a book, whatever that is.


Initially the machine you work with is like an automated slide projector that uses a roll of film that has a given reading selection, and a given width, set up. Each 'click' moves a line up into the view-window (your screen the projector shines on). You can adjust the speed of the increments. This, plus of course the width of the lines in the selections you choose, determine the reading speed someone is working at for practice.


I had an advanced speed reading class for seniors when I was in 10th grade as a I was a TA for the teacher who taught it. I already read very fast, and had an excellent and not quite photographic memory, so I was already ahead in that area, but nothing like I became. I absolutely loved the machine and wish I had one now. I have off and on searched the internet for speedreading software and none of it works like this machine does which boggles my mind. Mostly, none of it JUSTIFIES the text which is utterly critical. The eyes can NOT move. If your eyes move the whole point of the exercise is lost. Even when I was reading books, generally my eyes did not move -- my head did!


There are all these hilarious and fabulous alleged reasons why speed reading just cannot work or cannot be so fast or cannot allow comprehension. This is clearly idiocy from people who have either never tried it, or correctly, or competently.


I don't recall what my speed eventually got to, because it increased a lot after I left the formal machine (which I maxxed out) and just took it to reading books. Something I am pretty sure many people would say is not possible. The reasons they give for this are funny. Things like:


The eye surface.... is not large enough.... yes this is what keeps us from seeing the width of landscapes? Not a good reason.


The mind... just cannot process things that fast. Yes this is why we do nearly more physics calculations than a computer can just to catch a ball but we can do that by age 4 or sooner? Not a good reason.


The memory... just can't hold that much information 'waiting' to process it. Answer: your memory, dork, not mine, which works fine thankyouverymuch.


It might be because I began with machine training, but when I'd be reading a book, there was a very subtle 'sense of click' that I would get as I moved down through the lines. And the thing is, my brain actually did have some degree of processing limit, however, that wasn't an issue, it was just a thing. If I was reading fast and my brain was slow that day, it meant the growing queue of what I had read but had not yet hit the brain yet got larger and larger.


Basically, the "meaning" of the entire line of text -- eventually it was not always so much the text as the meaning, I recall starting to get philosophical about this and wondering if my brain was changing "how" it was handling it, as if maybe it was rewiring how it organized things at the very start, eventually, but I wasn't sure if I was imagining that and I don't remember ever following up on it -- would hit my brain all at once.


Not gradually, not left to right, not in linear order. All at once. Metaphysically this often happens, that I will get multiple numbers, or multiple layers of experience and meaning and visuals, and everything literally "at once" -- my brain has to put them in a sequence to journalize them but they did not have any sequence when arriving, they were simultaneous. This is possible inside the brain, just not in our time-space-focus-reality and language.


And each line just came that way. So when I really got going, if my brain wasn't keeping up with the 'input', a queue would build up of the lines remaining. I wasn't speed reading "around other people" much after I left high school so I'm limited to that era for memory here, but at the time I left HS I could hold about two pages of lines in queue. And I thought I probably could have done more but someone was always bugging me so I just didn't have time.


But I had to process. I think I probably did have the option to "dump it off the line" but I never tried. So if someone bugged me and I had to stop reading, I'd have to put my hand up in the don't-bother-me-for-a-moment sign, keep my eye closed (ideal but not required), and let the queue process. And it would stay at the speed I'd just been at, so it would go click-click-click-click-click as each one "hit" my brain, until it was done. Which even if you read very fast can take awhile for two pages if someone is waiting on you to say something.


I was not consciously remembering it. My brain just held it. It felt more like medium than short term memory, oddly. I used to use medium a lot, like when I was in warehousing, if I needed to remember something like a full phone number, usually the 7 digits is all my conscious mind would want. So I would associate something with the first three digits (like its place) and "accept" that as a "given" about the number, and then remember the 7 up top. There is just a sort of 'acceptance' (hard to describe) that shifts things from out of immediate memory for me, to something where it lasts longer and I don't consciously have to pay attention to it.


Anyway. I actually really loved speed reading when I was upset. It was the ultimate in something that utterly arrests your attention -- you cannot do anything else during this with your brain! So it's the ultimate escapism, you might say, with the nice side-effect of pouring tons of information into yourself quickly, if that's what you want.


It had some side-effects though, two that I didn't much like, and I started doing it less often as a result.


1. If I was reading a book for pleasure, I wanted to be in the world of that book. I can get totally into books as worlds, I am easily altered state, and it took all the fun out of 'immersion' which disappeared entirely. Not all books have or need that but some do.


2. Normally when you read a book you react to the content of it. Let us say something is tragic. Well, you react. I still reacted, but not at the time. Like, not when it was pinging against my brain. I would suddenly, 2.5 days later, realize that I felt deeply sad about that character's dying. Like my brain processed it all but it actually took quite some time for all the emotional part of it to "roll out inside me" afterward -- sometimes a few hours, sometimes a few days. I felt like I was oddly depriving myself of the "experience" of the reading, as a result.


Still good for other kinds of materials though.


I'm not sure why the 'new' approach to speed reading won't teach the expand-peripheral-vision requirement, and why all the SR software I find is so poorly designed and will not 'justify' the text lines which is not exactly rocket science.




Back in '95, I had what I thought was a brilliant idea for a foreign language tool. (I don't speak or read any.) You would basically write something so that on top was the reader's native language, with a word or three in a color/s, key words. Then below that would be a smaller, lighter line, the same sentence/s but rearranged properly in the other language, with a word or three matching those colors in that foreign language you wanted to teach them. The idea would be to NOT have them try to look at or read that at all. They are merely reading the stuff in english. But I theorized that if you did this with a machine -- so it forced them not to move their eyes and read the other but just to really open up the subconscious and 'allow' as part of the process -- that their mind would actually start learning key words, and some patterns of phrasing, just through this. It was only a theory.


At the time I wanted to use Visual Basic to program it and I was brand new to it. MS manuals were written by the programmers back then I believe. Had I already known basic, I would have known that I should not be looking under file, open, read, or anything like that, I should be looking under fget, which is where they put it, without any reference whatever anywhere else to how to open or read a file. By the end of the first day I was literally ready to throw my computer out the window. I moved on to things that made me feel less homicidal LOL. I still think it's an idea with potential though. :-)


I think if you had to speed read only that tiny width at a time as 'spritz' demonstrates, one could never do it more than about 1/4 as fast as the potential, maybe less, and the speed at which it moves actually is way higher than it'd need to be even for a much higher result using longer lines as well.

Edited by redcairo

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I was once enrolled in a "speed reading" class.


At the start, they test everyone.


I was doing 1100 wpm.


I took the full course, some months.


At the end, they test me again.


900 wpm.


I do agree that reading whole pages at once is the way to go.





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Thanks! That was fun. I think if I was reading for information (like a student) this would be really useful, but mostly I read for enjoyment. I don´t want to read fast because then it would be over too quick.

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I like reading books but I'm not a fast reader. Simply because I want to fully understand each word written by author.

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