Books, reports, papers, blogs, emails, tweets…with all this reading to do every day, who wouldn’t want to read faster and more efficiently? I subscribe to over 50 blogs, but checking out new posts is just a tiny fraction of my daily reading.
QuickReader provides you with over 20 classic novels, including The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Heidi, Little Women, The Last of the Mohicans, and A Tale of Two Cities. You have the option of reading any book normally, with guided practice, or as part of a speed reading test.
After reading through the user guide, I chose Pride and Prejudice and read a few pages to check my time. I read around 300 words per minute (I’ve read that average is 200-250 according to some sources, 250-300 according to others.)
Not bad, but clearly there’s room for improvement! I spent a little time in Guided Reading mode. Before starting, I adjusted the settings – this app is highly customizable, and you can access the settings from the main menu or while you’re reading in any of the modes (normal, guided, or speed test). I love that you can adjust the fonts and colors of the background and text. I’ve heard that, when reading on a screen, a darker blue background with lightly shaded text is easier on the eyes than good ol’ black on white, so I adjusted.
For guided practice, you can adjust how many words per minute you want to read, and how many guide stops there are per line or per stop. The “guide stops” make sense once you use the guided mode for a few seconds; it basically allows you to adjust how big the block of text is that the app highlights.
Guided Reading mode trains you by highlighting groups of words and moving through the text in chunks. Your eyes follow the highlighted sections at the speed you designated in settings. Over time, you can speed up the tempo and change the guide stops to highlight larger blocks. The trick is to let your eyes relax, taking in phrases rather than each individual word. QuickReader also provides you with helpful hints, like using your peripheral vision, and holding the iPhone further away.
No matter which mode you’re in, the app bookmarks your last spot. Another feature I love is that while you’re reading a book, you can switch from one of the three modes to another by tapping its icon at the bottom of the screen.
Does it work? After about 30 minutes of guided practice, I switched to the speed mode again. My new result – 327 wpm! Definitely an improvement. Getting it closer to 500 wpm would really help me get through a lot more of those blogs in my Google Reader!
The bottom line: this is a beautifully designed, extremely useful app. Highly recommended for anyone that wants to read faster.
QuickReader requires the iPhone OS 3.0 or later and is compatible with iPhone and iPod Touch.