Focused Reader

A speed reading tool with better support for very temporary pauses without disrupting reading rhythm.

Years ago I heard of a computer-assisted speed reading system where words would flash by one at a time, so you wouldn’t have to scan a text, allowing you to read faster. 

Suffice it to say, this takes a bit of getting used to, which meant I didn’t do it. Every couple years since I’ve gone back to see if it’s worth it – not a crazy way to spend ten minutes when you remember something like this exists. 

But ten minutes is all I could spend. If the words flash by fast enough, I don’t want to blink. Quickly, my eyes dry out, distracting me, forcing me into a rather dramatic mega-blinking session to get me back to normal. At the end of the day, I wasn’t sure this was helping me read faster. And beyond that, it made the process of reading notable and memorable, which distracts from the text. In the same way people who switch keyboard layouts often feel they’re having a stroke because their instincts no longer allow them to fluidly communicate, as a reader I am plauged by the otherwise ordinary act of keeping my eyes feeling super. With the lost fluidity, it’s like speaking in a foreign language. One that keeps making my eyes really dry. 

I’m still building the habit, but I’ve made a tool for this that allows me to jump backwards when I’ve lost my place, and lets me take mega-short breaks easily. Now the only trick is the copyright-challenged act of getting good reading materials into my copy-paste buffer. 

Focused Reader: Computer Assisted Speed Reading That Won’t Burn Your Eyes