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September 2, 2012 / carlispina

Increase Your Reading Speed with Readfa.st

Readfa.stWhether you read mostly for work or for pleasure, it can be useful and fun to test your reading speed. Readfa.st is a tool that allows you to do just this, by offering both testing to determine current word per minute reading speed, quizzes to ensure that you are actually comprehending what you read at that speed and a system to help users increase their reading speed with practice. Perhaps best of all, Readfa.st offers an option to read articles provided by the service or to read articles you have found elsewhere online.

Readfa.st’s approach to testing reading speed is to present small snippets of text that fade away as new text is revealed. The speed at which this happens determines the speed at which you are reading. Once you have signed up either by email or using your Facebook login, you can try an initial reading to test your current speed. To do this, Readfa.st will present you with text and the speed at which it moves from snippet to snippet will increase until you click a button saying that you have reached your maximum speed. At that point, your current reading speed will be calculated and will serve as the base speed for future reading. However, in future readings, you will also have the option to speed up or slow down the pace, or even to pause using the space bar. Once you have installed the Readfa.st bookmarklet, you can import articles you find online into the system to provide additional options beyond those already provided on the site. In fitting with the current trend towards gamification in web applications, you can also earn points and badges through different activities on the site, such as points for taking reading comprehension quizzes and badges for the first article read and for the first use of the bookmarklet. These points are tied to the leaderboard that is exclusive to users, but helps you see where you fall amongst registered users.  There is also a social element to the service since users can find friends and share content with them.

I found Readfa.st to be a fun way to test my current reading speed and I think it will help those who are interested in practicing their reading in a more organized fashion. I could definitely see recommending this for someone who is trying to read faster. I like the fact that Readfa.st does offer at least some quizzing options to make sure that you are actually getting the main points of what is read and I could see it helping someone to increase their reading speed overtime, but I am not convinced that it will work for all users as I could also see it making some people tense as they read since the words are disappearing as they go, which could actually slow their reading. It also raises issues about whether speed should be the priority for reading, though, at least to a point, I can see that some readers, who need to read quickly for school or work, would want to increase their speed and build better habits. If you are looking to find out your reading speed or increase it, or if you know someone who is, Readfa.st is worth a try.

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