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I just came across a site called Readfa.st.

It has this way of getting you to learn to read fast by hiding the text you're not supposed to be reading.

Apparently, it'll teach you to slowly learn to read faster by keeping up with the speed.

So does it work? Does anyone have any experience with learning to speed read with readfa.st or any similiar online website?

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Thanks for the link, looks interesting! It works in the way that I learned speedreading (gradually increasing speed), so I guess this could work. I learned that while speedreading on paper, you use a pointer (finger, pen) to direct your eyes so they don't wander around. This website achieves the same objective in a different manner. –  Rob Tillie Feb 2 '12 at 9:32
    
@daRoBBie - so you learnt to speed read successfully? Was it a hard thing to do? I find that with the site, I can read faster, but I'll miss things here and there, especially stuff like names of people etc. –  stickman Feb 5 '12 at 5:05
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4 Answers

So the short answer here is that there are no short cuts.

In slightly longer form - I think it's generally accepted that speed-reading is a nice way of looking at the trade of between speed and comprehension of text. (There's a Woody Allen line, which goes "I just speed-read War and Peace. It's about some Russians.") and if you want to make that trade of - that's great and it can be useful.

On the other hand I do believe that speed of reading can gradually improve the more of it you do. I work with a couple of creative writing lecturers and when marking they find they can get though three substantial novels in a day - simply because they have had so much practice, but it's taken many, many, years of reading all day for them to get to that point.

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Yes - you can definitely improve your ability to take in information at a higher rate, and this is one way to train your brain.

Once you can cope with higher speeds your brain can adjust to take in all the information around the point on a page you focus on. Unlike @Joe's comment, you don't need to trade off speed and comprehension (although you can if you want!) - it is just a case of practice, practice, practice - it is possible to train your speed and comprehension up to astonishingly high levels - and tools like this and Rocket Reader can accelerate that training.

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We started working on readfa.st based on a couple of assumptions:

  1. Different people read at wildly different speeds
  2. 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: contact@readfa.st

--Sasha

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It is a common technique known as word flash found in speed-reading software, only that it is catered to online reading. Techniques like this are effective on prose and casual content, but not so much on technical material, where the bar for comprehension is significantly higher and possibly uneven across the length of the material.

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