We started working on readfa.st based on a couple of assumptions:
- Different people read at wildly different speeds
- Comprehension and retention are not inversely correlated with reading speed (i.e., faster readers don't fail to comprehend)
Somehow it's possible for some people to read faster than others, and from our data, it doesn't seem to correlate with our traditional understanding of memory or intelligence. So there must be some learned behaviors, habits or specific skills that drive the differences in reading speed.
We experimented with ways of presenting text to figure out precisely how quickly we read. After finding a methodology that was both intuitive and easily extended to all forms of online and offline reading, we began to notice that our reading speeds had drastically increased after only a month of practice. I had gone from reading comfortably at about 250-300 WPM (words per minute) to about 600 WPM and Ani, another member of the readfa.st team, went from 1,000 WPM to 1,500.
We didn't need to think about particular habits and behaviors to increase speed, we just needed to consistently force ourselves to read at the limits of our ability. Similar to when one learns to run, one doesn't need to focus on how high to lift one's legs, just by getting on the treadmill and running regularly at increasing speeds, one improves quickly as a runner. We tried to make readfa.st as easy as possible to integrate into your daily reading so that you could get the consistency required for improvement. I'm confident that if you use readfa.st regularly and push yourself a little, you will see some improvement within a couple of weeks.
Give us a try at: http://readfa.st and let me know what you think at: firstname.lastname@example.org