If you’re anything like me, you’ve got a few hundred books you’d still like to read. With the speed at which new works enter the scene, that number goes up more often than down; and that’s not taking into account the jaw-dropping number of periodicals and Internet articles you’d like to read ‘if you only had the time’.
Obviously, as you read more, you tend to grow better at it over time. If that’s not enough, there’s always speed reading - a collective name for a number of reading techniques that allow you to crank up your reading speed like you wouldn’t believe.
There are a number of ways you can practice your speed reading, like the valuable tip to stop musing the words in your mind. One way to get rid of this annoying habit is by tracing the words on a page with your finger faster than you can subvocalise. Or you can use any of an assortment of top notch speed reading tools available to the masses, some which were previously covered at MakeUseOf.
This article focuses on such tools that are available on the iPad, so you can practice your speed reading wherever you are.
Quickreader is a speed reading tool available for the iPhone, iPod Touch and the iPad. Rather than taking the conventional approach, QuickReader shows the full text on your iPad screen, and uses highlights to set the pace. It’ll be a bit harder to keep up this way, with nothing preventing you from lagging behind or rereading parts of the text, but it provides a better representation of where you’ll eventually want to end up.
There’s a free version of QuickReader available as well, with a limited number of books preloaded into the application. The full version, which retails at just under $5, allows you to load your own books onto the device as well. As you might be interested in knowing, full version application variants for young,Spanish, German and French readers are available as well.
Like most speed reading applications, Read Quick flashes blocks of words across the screen at a pre-set pace. In the case of Read Quick, that’s one word at a time. Whenever you’re reading this way, you can double-tap the screen to change the reading speed (you’ll want it to increase in the long run), and see how long it’ll take you to finish the article at a preset page.
When you’re done, you can view some quick stats and use the share buttons below the article the share the article in question and brag about your reading prowess.
What makes Read Quick interesting in my eyes is that it plugs into a number of quality long format story sources and news essentials, like LongReads and Talking Points Memo. Alternatively, you can connect Read Quick to your Instapaper account, and read those articles you neglected during your adventures on the web. Whatever source you pick, the articles are eventually displayed in a list with titles and summaries, which is not only easy on the eyes, but also displays the time it’ll take you to finish each article at the current rate of words per minute.
Acceleread is the power horse of iPad speed reading applications. You can pick your material from the extensive preloaded library, or import your own, and use both speed reading styles outlined above (word flash, or moving highlights) to work up your pace. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Acceleread’s greatest asset is its dynamic training course, which leads you through a number of different exercises and incorporates your performance during them in its design. Alternatively, you can use any of the multiple practice modes using the preloaded or your own material, and check your performance using Acceleread’s built-in speed reading tests. Yes, the application costs nearly double of the two previous, but has more than double the functionality.
Have you ever given speed reading a try? Do you want to? Let us know what motivates you – or what’s keeping you back – in the comments section below the article.