As people read more on mobile devices, new apps “promise to make reading on a small screen” easier and faster, reports the Wall Street Journal. But comprehension may suffer.
Spritz Technology’s app is designed for “focused reading on the go,” not Shakespeare, says co-founder and CEO Frank Waldman.
College graduates read about 250 words a minute, on average, says Michael Masson, professor of psychology at the University of Victoria in Canada. A 7-year-old reads about 80 words a minute, while a sixth-grader reads about 185 words a minute.
Spritz users who were reading 250 words a minute sped up to reading 400 words a minute after using the app for 20 minutes with no loss in comprehension, the company’s research claims.
I took a speed reading course when I was a high school senior. I started at 1,000 comprehensible words per minute (reading speed times the percent of correct answers on a multiple-choice test) and peaked at 5,000 comprehensible wpm. That’s really skimming, not reading, but it came in very handy in college and in my career. I could get through textbooks and documents very quickly, slowing down when necessary. I find it much harder to speed-read on a screen of any size.