Web Exclusive: Speed reading gets really fast-- 1,000 words per minute

Web Exclusive

(CNN) - A new app makes it possible to read at a thousand words per minute.  But the big question is how much can you really comprehend and retain at that lightning-fast pace?

Speed reading is supposed to be fast, now it's taking off like a bullet. When we read, our eyes move from word to word, line to line, slowing us down.  A new technology called Spritz cuts down on all that movement showing words, one at a time in rapid fire.  From 250 words per minute to 1,000 words per minute, early reaction is mixed.

"I'm actually kind of amazed that I can read that fast," says a reviewer.

Another person says, "I don't have to constantly refocus, it's just slamming it into my brain."
Some people say it makes them a little nauseous.

There are similar speed reading apps on the market, but Spritz believes its advantage is the way its technology aligns the words.  Each one with a letter in red.  Spritz says this gives the eye a point to focus on.  Experts who are critical of this technology say this method of reading has been tried and studied before and what you gain in speed, you lose in comprehension and retention.

"The difficulty is its not just the rate at which we see words but it also takes time for us to comprehend what those words mean once we start putting them together," says Michael Masson, Psychology Professor.

Spritz plans to license the technology to online newspapers and e-readers. The company's CEO hopes to take a page out of a now famous $19 billion dollar app.

"Eventually there will be a nominal fee to use Spritz, sort of like WhatsApp and so what we're more focused on is just getting people reading this way," says Frank Waldman, Spritz CEO.

The app isn't out yet, but Samsung's latest Galaxy 5 phone and gear watch come with Spritz pre-installed.  If you can get up to 1,000 words per minute, the first Harry Potter novel would take you a mere 77 minutes to finish. And war and peace, just about a day.



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