Like most of you, I spend a large portion of my day reading. To speed up the process, I use the speed reading app Spritz. And depending on the complexity of the material, I can now read up to 1000 Words Per Minute (WPM) while retaining most of the information. To put this in perspective, the average college graduate reads at about 300 WPM. So while 1000 WPM seems absurd, keep in mind that when I first starting using Spritz, my average WPM was 250.
If you want to understand the science behind the application, and learn more about their methodology, then check out their site. However, what I want to do here is provide some tips I use to get the most out of this tool:
- Start at a WPM that is slower than your personal average for material you’re not familiar with. When you’re familiar with a topic, you’ll find that you can almost predict what will be written next and can easily speed through it while maintaining maximum retention. But when it comes to foreign material, this isn’t always the case. For example, I try and read Barron’s every week. This is not a field I know a lot about. Therefore, I’ll drop the WPM to 400 from my usual 600. At this speed, I’m still reading much faster than using traditional techniques and my retention isn’t affected.
- On a daily basis, make a huge WPM leap and challenge yourself on articles that aren’t important to your professional or personal gains. For me, I choose to do this with sports articles. While I enjoy reading them for entertainment, they are generally not a productive use of my time. So, while I know it’s not likely that I’ll stop reading these articles, I’ve made a choice to read them in a way where I can achieve some benefit. I do this by increasing the WPM to 1000, and, yes, it’s FAST. I don’t retain everything but that’s not a big deal. What is valuable is what happens when I drop the WPM between 600 and 700 WPM on important material. After 1000 WPM, this speed begins to feel slow, thus increasing my ability to retain all the information.
- Don’t listen to music with words! The lyrics will distract you and decrease your retention. If I’m in the mood for music, I’ll play one of the many great playlists found on Spotify that don’t feature lyrics.
These are the tips that help me get the most out of Spritz. Please feel free to share any recommendations you may have. Enjoy!