Reading is part of our daily lives. You’ve probably heard people claiming they can read 200 pages in 20 minutes or similar, and you’re wondering if it’s possible. Also, there are a lot of applications and programs that will supposedly teach you how to read faster, but none of them seem very effective.
There might be an exception though: Reading Trainer. It’s an iPhone (and iPad) app that has become very popular on the App Store and is actually very well reviewed by their users. It claims that, with practice, you’ll be able to read 2 to 3 times faster than your current speed. I’ve been expecting an app like this for a while now, since reading fast has always been like a dream to me. Let’s see if the promises hold true.
You start by creating a profile. Before starting with any exercises though, you’ll have to take a little test. You’ll be given a test that you need to carefully read, at your current reading speed. Don’t cheat though, that’s not the point, and besides, you’ll have to answer four questions about the text you just read so read thoroughly. This lets you know how fast you read, and how much retention you have.
After taking this initial test, you start doing exercises. There are many different types, all of them designed to train your eyes and even improve retention. Everytime you launch the app, just tap on Training to begin with your exercise and you’ll instantly see the next lesson you need to take. All exercises are actually pretty fun, almost like a game, and you’ll be making progress without even noticing how quickly time passes.
How Does It Work?
Like I explained before, there are many different exercise types. The most frequent ones you’ll see are finding letters (and words) among other letters (training your concentration), looking at a number for a split second and quickly writing it down (training your retention), and others that don’t even require interaction, which train your eye movements by making you follow highlighted words on the screen.
There are other exercise types that require a lot more interaction. For example, there’s one where you’re shown a word with all of its letters scrambled for a split second. You then get 3 attempts at writing it down correctly. It’s actually very hard, especially when you’re shown words you don’t even know. There’s also an exercise where you’re shown an entire phrase for a short moment, so you can then type it down, correctly.
Each of these exercises start getting more difficult over time, but that depends entirely on your progress. If you’re not getting very good results on a specific lesson, the app will turn the difficulty down a bit so you can go at your own speed.
One of the greatest features about Reading Trainer is that it supports multiple languages. Yes, you can train your reading in English, but also in French, German, Italian and Spanish. In order to train multiple languages, you simply create another profile just like you did at the beginning, and select another language. This way, you can track your progress on different languages without getting them mixed up.
Another feature is that it supports Game Center. You can actually compete with your friends to see who’s been improving the most at reading. Making this a competition really gives you the push to practice. You also get achievements when you pass each unit, making it even more fun.
This app is definitely great. On the course of about two weeks, I’ve improved my reading speed significantly. It requires a lot of practice though, and you need to keep training periodically in order to maintain your speed. But worry not, no exercise is boring and you start seeing results in just a couple of days, which really motivates you to keep training.
The app’s design is not what I would expect on an iPhone app, but it’s good nevertheless. The app does keep its promise of improving your reading speed, and I’m looking forward to being able to read that 200 page book in under 20 minutes.
So there you have it. Give it a try, it’s available on the App Store right now for just $2.99, and it’s also available for the iPad for $4.99.