Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A Little Rant

Since I'm in the middle of three different books right now and don't have any that I'm ready to write about, I thought I'd indulge in a little rant about a new reading app I saw in a blog post today. The app is called Spritz and it's intended to improve reading speed based on the theory that 80% of reading time is spent on the time it takes your eyes to move across a page. To cut down on this time, Spritz flashes one word at a time on screen, allowing the reader to keep their eyes fixed on one point as they absorb a string of words. Not only does this allow you to read more words per minute, but Spritz also claims that it increases reading comprehension....and it's that idea that I take issue with. 

Spritz's method may indeed allow readers to quickly comprehend something they're reading since they have to force themselves to stay focused on the screen in order to not miss a word. But doesn't that also suggest that reading is something to be gotten through as quickly as possible? There may be some kinds of reading where that's the case, like an instruction manual, but for most forms of literature, I think there's more to reading comprehension that just getting through the words and remembering what happened. To truly comprehend and appreciate a book, I think you need to allow time to pause when you come to an idea that stops you in your tracks, or to go back an reread a beautifully written passage. There's something to be said for building some breathing room into your reading, allowing time for your mind to wander, to daydream and really absorb what it is you're reading. The concept behind Spritz seems to totally negate that kind of reading experience.

And don't even get me started on the eye strain it must cause!

(image via here)

What do you think? Are you a slow or fast reader? Would you consider reading with Spritz?


  1. Ugh, yeah, I thought the same thing. How is this compelling? I mean, I happen to be reading Anna Karenina, and yeah, it's taking me FOREVER, but that's what I love about it. It's nice to be able to spend that much time with a book. Spritz is taking everything good about reading and making it a game or a chore.

  2. I completely agree. I checked Spritz out and it's so frustrating- yes, you can "read" really fast, but the minute you stop and try to remember what you just read you lose your focus on the words flashing on the screen. Plus, you don't have a sense of where you are on the page, so you get really disoriented. I feel like reading is one activity that doesn't need to be tampered with or "improved" like other activities.



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