Read Faster. Way Faster. No, really, I mean WAY faster.
Extremely useful online speed reading java applet. Any text you copy and paste into it is "flashed" one word at time as fast as you'd like. You can use it offline too by saving it in IE7 as a "Web Archive .mht file" to my local hard drive so it works when I'm disconnected from the internet.
Top comment from digg.com
"It occurred to me that people who look at spreeder and have never before really tried speed reading might not quite "get it" when they test it. "The text I pasted in flashes at me one word at a time. Interesting, but why? Is this just some sort of entertaining visual effect or something?" Fair question, and no.
When you read, you normally fall into what's called "subvocalization" which simply means you sound out and pronounce each word mentally. It's like your brain goes trough the process of preparing to verbalize every word of every sentence, but just doesn't send the signals to your vocal cords to *actually* pronounce the words. You don't even notice it really, but you will naturally read at pretty much the same speed you would speak.
Speed reading is simply disciplining yourself to NOT try to subvocalize each word. You brain is actually very capable of this once you get used to it. The problem is that on a written page, you have a second problem that you have to train your eyes to actually "scan" a word and then MOVE to the next one and (depending on the layout of the page, font size, etc.) that is also a challenge. (That's why people who speed read with physical paper books will often move their finger quickly back and forth across the page, or use an index card and drag it down the page to reveal lines at the rate the want to read, but help keep their eyes from wandering.
Anyway, obviously doing this with software where the program breaks the sentences down and flashes just one word at a time remove the entire "mechanical eye scanning" sort of issue. I've looked at a bunch of programs to do this for years, but spreeder is the first free one I've found.
Drop some text into it and run it. The only "problem" is that the default speed isn't really all that fast (which is probably why some people try it and "don't get it" since they can actually subvocalize that fast) so they aren't getting any benefit yet. The magic is in gradually bumping up the speed you are using and it will get you to the point where the part of your brain that subvocalizes starts "falling behind."
Now push it just a little faster and your brain will "give up" trying to subvocalize, but (probably much to your surprise) you will actually have very high comprehension of what you just read anyway. In fact, then as you push higher over time (and not that much time actually, your brain is VERY good at this once you get used to it) you'll find you have VERY high comprehension at speed that would have sounded absurd. I've honetly shocked myself at the word per mintue my brain can recognize when I'm not trying to pronounce them in my head at the same time.
Basically you are training your brain to directly connect visualized words to their known meaning without having to go through the "detour" of your brain's speech center. (Or something like that...)"
MY COMMENT: Another nail in the coffin of the major book sellors.