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THE DOG EAR: Miracle app lets you read faster

By Alyssa McDonagh
On March 24, 2014

My to-read list is constantly growing longer. Too many books are published each year that capture my attention and daily obligations prevent me from reading everything of interest. I just don't have the time. A new app called Spritz has developed a solution to this problem. The app doesn't provide users with more time to curl up with a good book but it does create a method to read faster. The creators state that the app will allow users to read 600-1000 words per minute. This is extremely high, considering the average college student reads 300 words per minute according to Time magazine.
Time explains how this remarkable speed is achieved. When we read, our eyes move back and forth on the page. It is our eyes that limit how fast we can read. With Spritz, the words move, allowing the readers' eyes to stay still. This method is called rapid sequential visual presentation. The words are displayed one by one in a place where our eyes are "primed for visual recognition". This allows the words to correlate with the natural motion of the eye. As a result, eye movements will no longer slow down reading.
I tried Spritz's technology on the website Elite Daily where words were shown at 250, 350, and 500 words per minute. I was able to keep up with the reading speed but I couldn't imagine reading at speeds approaching 1000 words per minute. When I read, I want to read at a speed that works for me. As students, sometimes we feel left behind when we are listening to lectures and the professor is talking too fast. If I couldn't keep up with the pace of my novel, I would find that very disheartening. Since individual words are flashed at you, little time is given to understand things that may be confusing. It would be difficult to differentiate one part of the book from another if only single words are displayed. Analyzing the author's writing style would be nearly impossible and the author's efforts wouldn't be properly acknowledged. When we read on our own, that is the perfect opportunity to go as slow as we want in order to properly understand and enjoy the writing. With this app, a book can be read and forgotten all in one sitting.
It makes me wonder why reading needs to become instantaneous. Our lives already run at a fast pace. We have easy access to information at our fingertips due to smartphones, fast food restaurants are abundant and it seems like there is always very little time to relax. Since reading is often associated with relaxing, why turn it into a task to rush through?
Despite having the potential to allow me to seriously tackle my to-read list, I could never bring myself to use Spritz. Reading faster could be advantageous but books weren't meant to be read at speeds like this. There is a reason normal reading speeds are significantly slower than what the app provides. I believe we should enjoy books as they were created, page by page.

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