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Speed Reading – Enhance Your Reading Abilities with ZAP Reader

19 February 2009 Posted by in category: self efficiency with Tags ,

ZAP Reader is a web program that enables you to practice speed reading while reading online text. It is easy to use and does not requires registration or any payment.

zap reader example

How it works

Any text pasted into the zap reader box is read at a predefined pace (300 words per minute as default), a predefined number of words at a time (one word as default).  (See the example picture.) You can paste any text you like, word documents, internet pages, and so on.

Why is it good

When practicing speed reading, three technical issues are to be considered:

  1. “Block of words” size – the number of words you read with every eye movement.
  2. Fixation – the time spent on each block. 
  3. Skip-backs – the number of times you move back to read things you’ve already read.

(See more about Increasing Your Reading Speed at Mind Tools).
ZAP reader practice all three of these technical issues. The number of words presented at a time allows you to determine and enlarge your “blocks of words.” The number of words per minute reduces the fixation. And since the words keep running and you have no way to look back (without using the mouse), skipping-back is prevented.

How to use it

First time settings:  

  1. Add this Bookmarklet to your bookmarks bar (put it in an accessible place):  ZAP! 
  2. Go to the setting page and configure it to your preferences (cookie is used).
    I recommend these changes:                          

    • Define the number of words at a time.
    • Define the number of words per minute.
    • Decreasing the font size.
    • Set it to Auto-Play (so you will not need to click “play”).

Whenever you want to speed read:

Select text you want to read and click the bookmarklet in your bookmarks bar. The text will start “running” In a new window. All that is left to do now is read (fast…).

After a few times you will learn what is your maximum reading speed. By gradually increasing it, you will be able to expand your reading limits.

Have you ever used speed reading tools?  Tell us in the comments. 

2 Responses to “Speed Reading – Enhance Your Reading Abilities with ZAP Reader”

  1. Bob 26 July 2009 at 8:39 pm (PERMALINK)

    I think that software like this is somewhat helpful, but at times it feels like you're getting the fish, instead of the tutorial on how to fish. Maybe it would be better to just learn how to speed read, and then you don't need these accessories.

  2. eyalsela 26 July 2009 at 8:52 pm (PERMALINK)

    Hi Bob,
    nice metaphore.
    One of the ways to practice speed reading is to use these kind of tools (I learnd speed reading).
    but, you are right that it is better to know the method in order to master speed reading.