Spritz wants to help you read faster — and might even help those with reading disorders

As you look at all those books on your to-read list, you might think to yourself that there has to be a quicker way to get through them all.

Argh! If only I read faster.

Spritz is hoping to help you with that. The Boston-based group is working on speed-reading technology, which I first read about on The Passive Voice. While Paul covered this story a few weeks ago, there’s been lots more media coverage of it since. Seems it’s quite popular on the tech blogs. Glancing through the comments on Passive Voice, however, it seems not everyone is thrilled with the new technology.

In case you’ve missed the story until now, the way it works is that Spritz will show words to readers one word at a time, which should allow them to read more quickly. According to the Spritz website, “Removing eye movement associated with traditional reading methods not only reduces the number of times your eyes move, but also decreases the number of times your eyes pass over words for your brain to understand them. This makes Spritzing extremely efficient, precise, convenient and comfortable.”

The developers of Spritz get into the science behind it here.

To check out the program, head over to the Spritz website where it has examples from 250 WPM to 600 WPM.

One thing I wondered about, however, was how this technology would help those with dyslexia or similar. I asked a friend with dyslexia to check it out, and he said while he is a quick reader, his biggest problem is that he is worried about retention when it comes to using Spritz. If he gets distracted while reading, he has to go back and re-read certain passages or paragraphs. Spritz — while it has controls — would make it difficult to go back.

It has worked for some, according to Spritz as one of the FAQs is dedicated to dyslexia.

I have a reading disability like dyslexia, can spritzing help me to read more?
We’ve had good feedback from dyslexic users so far. And people with ADD. One of the keys of helping people with dyslexia and other reading issues is related to delimiting the content that is viewable to the reader to improve readability and comprehension – exactly what Spritz does. A Spritz-enabled application can be slowed down to accommodate any speed that a developer would like. Here is a direct quote from a dyslexic user:

“Your product is AWESOME, for a dyslectic person as me, this feels VERY liberating!” – Andreas from Sweden

For myself, while I don’t have dyslexia, it actually made me feel a bit dizzy. I get motion sickness from video games, so this may not be the best app for me to use. However, I can see how it could make up time by reading more quickly.

1 Comment on Spritz wants to help you read faster — and might even help those with reading disorders

  1. Barry Morten // March 13, 2014 at 7:10 am //

    This is a fascinating piece of technology, it seemed to work well on the demonstration. I can see the potential for reading a full book, though I’ll have to reserve judgement until I’ve done that. I can see it being more useful to me in terms of reading fiction books though. For information-based books, I already use sites such as http://whycode.com/ in order to extract the key ideas in about 10 minutes. So I can see this being more useful to me in terms of reading stories.

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