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Hey, Not So Fast!

November 02, 2011 by Bob Prout |

readingThere are two things I never learned to do fast: reading and typing. Admittedly these are serious hindrances for a student of any age but in my case, being (mumble) years old, they’re positive disabilities.  I’ve come up with a typing system that allows me to knock out a page of text in just under two hours. I type as fast as my stubby little fingers will type and then go back and fix all the errors that spell check cheerfully points out. It automatically fixes my usual mistypes too ("studnet" and "teh" to name just two.) But reading is another matter entirely—especially reading online.

I've always been a slow reader. My spouse can go through six books in the time it takes me to read one (actually, most people can) but what are you going to do other than plod along? Imagine my excitement when I (slowly) read an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education about a new product called

readfast_homepage from Sasha Katsnelson on Vimeo.

The people promise in the promo video tht they will help you learn to read faster...and they'll even make it fun (I prefer things that are fun, don't you?) I went to their homepage and tried it out.

The first thing they do is test your reading speed by scrolling some text (left to right) from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. It starts out slowly but gets much faster pretty quickly. It wasn't long before I hit the "too fast for me" button. It told me my reading speed was only 420 words per minute. Hey, I never claimed to be a speed reader. I took one of their reading comprehension quizzes and answered 50% of the two questions correctly.

The centerpiece of is a bookmarklet that you can put on your browser's bookmark bar that will turn pretty much any page of online text into a training exercise when you click it. It's very clever. (They even give you achievement badges!)

If you're concerned about all the stuff you have to read and would like to do it faster, maybe is for you. As for me, just as soon as I have some time I am going to diligently use this product and improve my online reading speed. I swear this by the ghost of Evelyn Wood.


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