Novice speed readers are certain to come across a tool called Spreed speed reading, or Spreeder, at some point during their initial investigation into the art and science of speed reading. While some swear by the effectiveness of this tool, others are more wary of it’s offerings. So is this an unbelievable tool, or just a waste of your time and energy?
For those who don’t know, Spreed speed reading is a tool which allows you to input a large chunk of text that you want to read, and then decide how quickly you want to read it. So, for instance, if you’re just starting out, you can try to speed read at five hundred words per minute (about twice the rate of an average reader), or for advanced, you can read at eight hundred (or more) words per minute. Then, you click the button labeled “start” and the text you inputted fills the screen, and flashes by one word at a time, at the rate of speed that you previously selected.
While it’s disconcerting at first, you get used to it quickly, and most people find that they start reading much more rapidly with this tool than they could without it. The results often speak for themselves.
However, there are a number of people out there who think that this tool is actually doing more harm than good. These speed reading experts don’t deny that the tool does what it claims to do, since the results are obvious and can be seen, but they say that relying on the tool too often can train you away from good reading practices, and can negatively affect you comprehension.
Their negative opinions of Spreeder are based on a number of reading techniques that have been a fundamental part of this art since Evelyn Wood offered her very first course back in the 1960’s.
Chunking, or reading sentences in chunks of three or four words instead of word-by-word, is something that advanced adult readers do all the time, and is one of the primary methods of learning how to speed read that is taught in almost every course. When children, or poor readers read, they tend to go word-by-word, stopping on each word instead of reading chunks. Not only does this cut down on your comprehension and retention rate, but it also has the effect of making you read much more slowly than normal.
Because Spreed speed reading flashes words by one at a time, it acclimates you to reading word-by-word instead of chunk-by-chunk, which is preferable. If you have already developed chunking on your own, this tool can actually regress your brain into thinking that word-by-word reading is best, and that simply is not the case at all.