Sometimes novels just look a bit too daunting to read, if it’s as thick as a brick with lettering as small as a speck of sand, sometimes you might be easily persuaded not to give it a go. Of course, eBook novels don’t look quite so daunting, and being able to change the size of the font certainly helps. However, when you’ve been reading for a week and you’ve only encompassed 7% of the novel, it can sometimes be more demoralizing when you’re tackling something as in depth and compound as War and Peace.
Luckily, there’s now an app for that. Yes, there really is an app for just about everything, and the latest addition to the reading and writing world is called ‘Spritz’. After years of configuration, adaptation and general tinkering, Spritz is guaranteeing readers to be able to read up to 1,000 words per minute, meaning that the more complex novels such as War and Peace, which contain more than 580,000 words, could be read in little more than nine and a half hours. The average novel, usually worth around 80,000 words, could be read in two and a half hours at a reading speed of 500 words per minute, or 80 minutes at the fastest speed offered by Spritz.
There have previously been other software developers who have created apps with the theory of increasing reading speed by rapid serial visual presentation, but the difference with Spritz is that it manipulates the format of the words themselves, lining them up more appropriately with the eye’s natural motion of reading. Therefore the ‘Optimal Recognition Point’ (ORP) is slightly left of the center of each word, the precise point at which the human brain is able to decipher each jumble of letters. Surely you’ve previously heard of the human brain’s ability to decipher words no matter how the letters are arranged, well Spritz is a smarter and more successful way of ensuring that we do just that, by making the ORP red and presenting each ORP from each word at the same point on the screen, so that our eyes don’t even have to move in order to read the words.
Despite the so-called convenience of this new app, there is the worry that this is just the world’s way of keeping up with the changing pace of society, and that reading should be a way of allowing ourselves to slow down, relax and transport ourselves somewhere completely new. Not only this, but how can we be sure that by reading with Spritz, we will truly take in the meaning and storyline of our novels.
Spritz developers insist that it takes into account the different processing times of different words, thereby contributing to the overall comprehension of reading rather than diminishing it, but nevertheless there is plenty of skepticism over the issue of retention. Research has already shown that there is less retention from reading on a screen than reading on paper, so will Spritz really improve our reading experience?
Let’s not forget, of course, that reading is supposed to be pleasurable, so why would you want to speed up that experience? You tell us, let us know what you think about the idea of Spritz, or give it a go yourself.