Reading Quickly

Since I remember myself I had a dream to read quickly. I wanted to know everything in 300 page book by hitting it to my head. Of course that didn’t work. 

Today, being grown-up, I still have that very same dream to transfer information from the book to brain in relatively short period of time. 

Problem I face is my reading pace. No matter how much I try and read, I do it in a very moderate rate. Thus, as one of my “2014 Todo List” goals I decided to learn how to read quickly.

In late October I was listening to one of the episodes of Iterate podcast where Eric Mayville of Wondersauce was talking about challenges in making of Read Quick app. Which as you might already guessed—is an app that “teaches” you how to read quickly. So I bought it. In fact I bought almost every app that claimed to make me read quicker. There are quite a few apps of this type, but only two remained on my phone—Velocity and Read Quick. 

Both of them are simple, which is crucial for me, and both of them can read from Instapaper, which is a must. Conceptually both are identical: They display single word at a time with a predefined rate (measured in words per minute). At the fist time choosing from two seemed to be easy. Velocity has nicer and simpler UI, but devil is in details. Read Quick does everything with more of a detail oriented fashion. For example, Read Quick will pause for a fraction of second if displayed word is too long and repeat last five word if you swipe right in case you lost your attention for a second. This seems to be nothing special but makes reading very comfortable. On the other hand Velocity UI is cleaner, simpler and has icon I like being on my home screen. Plus, it can archive Instapaper article right from the app itself. It seems like Velocity was made by people who care about UI and Read Quick—who care about reading. Thus, my choice will got to Read Quick but ideally, I would prefer those two to merge somehow in an app of my dream.

That’s all good and fine, but do I read faster? Yes. I started at 250 words per minute (which was not hard) and now read at 305 WPM. As a result I can read 1500 word essay in under 5 minutes… only if a keep my mouth shut.