A new application invented to make reading a lot easier is about to be launched in the technology market. Spritz, a company based in Boston, has created a text streaming technology that aims to ease the time-consuming process of reading; they take speed reading to a whole new level.
With this application, users will move away from the traditional word-to-word and sentence-to-sentence type of reading. This switch is supposed to make the process more efficient by up to 80 percent because the eye doesn’t have to search for the next place. The app presents simply a small rectangular box that flashes single words at anywhere from 250 to 1,000 per minute, which can be determined by the user. Words longer than 13 characters are divided up, and letters slightly left of center in each word are colored red to give the eye a focus point, all of which speed the eye through a text.
Spritz appears to potentially be especially useful to students who have lengthy texts to make their way through. In a crunch, they can be exposed to the material in a minimal amount of time and have at least that preparation done for classes, or it could be a useful tool for review.
Students and faculty at Principia have tested it out on its site and have given had mixed reactions. Freshman Ross Johnson thinks that the application is fun and would like to give it a try when it releases. “I think it would be a different feel than reading a textbook,” he said. Freshman Peter Nabiswa also thinks he would try it because it looks interesting, even though he would prefer not to use it for a research project. Nabiswa said that research work needs more comprehension and attachment with the reading material, while novels require less engagement. “I think it is good for reading a novel, rather than academic work which needs thorough understanding and note taking,” he elaborated.
Other students who consider themselves slow readers did not like Spritz, saying that it would only make them feel worse for being slower readers. On the other hand, a few students thought that the application would increase their reading speed, as Spritz research claims to show. But freshman Patty Gray thought that the app was distracting and left her with little comprehension of the content read. “I am a big note-taker, so this would not work for me. I will lose any thought portrayed in the reading the moment the words disappear from the screen. I need my words intact on a page for me to highlight main points and write side notes,” she said. Gray strongly believes that she will never choose Spritz over traditional books.
Education professor Lauren Hinchman also felt that using Spritz exclusively to learn new information would be ill-advised. Like Johnson, she thinks it could potentially help slow readers finish reading books faster. At the same time, she thinks it could negatively hinder the bulk of what academic work entails. “Students learn from underlining, highlighting and writing in the margins of their books. This would be hard to do if they were reading their books on Spritz,” she said. Otherwise, Hinchman welcomes the idea and thinks it would still be helpful especially for casual readers who are out to enjoy a fast read of their novels.
Perhaps those who are skeptical will be convinced otherwise; the application developers are confident that Spritz can offer more than fast reading skills. They believe that Spritz places words exactly where your brain wants them to be, and therefore is the best tool to empower effective reading. While it shows promise, the apparent limits seem to indicate that it cannot truly replace traditional, stabilized reading.