Version Reviewed: 1.0
iPhone Integration Rating:
User Interface Rating:
Re-use / Replay Value Rating:
By far the most fascinating application I've reviewed in a while, QuickReader is designed to improve your reading speed. I was cautiously skeptical at first, but after a few sessions with the app, I can actually feel myself improving. Anyone willing to invest the time in developing their speed-reading skills should grab this app immediately.
As one iTunes store reviewer put it, QuickReader is like a metronome for reading. By default, the app is set to 3 "stops" per line and 300 words per minute. A "stop" is essentially a highlighted portion of the text; it's the digital equivalent to traditional methods like using a pen to track your progress. The highlight steadily moves across the page according to the pace you set, and you're supposed to follow along with it. It's supposed to allow you to focus on groups of words and to read properly from side to side, because your eye focuses naturally on movement.
If it sounds simple, that's because it is. I can't explain the science behind it myself, but after using it for just a few days, I can see a marked improvement in my speed. There's a speed test included with the application, and I was reading around 325 words per minute at the beginning; now, I'm hovering between 585 and 608. I have to put forth a conscious effort to read quickly, but it feels comfortable. What shocked me most was that I was able to retain what I had read, at nearly double the speed—and I haven't even been using QuickReader for a week! Granted, that speed hasn't quite translated into the offscreen world, but if I focus, I can approach similar speeds.
There are three modes within the application: Guided Reading, Normal Reading, and Speed Test. I recommend taking a Speed Test prior to starting with the app, so that you can nudge the words per minute rate just a little higher than your current speed. Normal Reading is good if you just want to read the bundled classics. Thankfully, you can switch freely through the modes mid-read without having to navigate back to the menu. You can also fully customize font and color schemes, which makes QuickReader a solid eBook reader as well as a reading-improvement device. Both landscape and portrait reading modes are supported.
The application comes with 21 classic eBooks for you to practice with. I'm working with Sherlock Holmes, which might account for my speed; though a classic, it's hardly as dense as, say, a textbook. The developers apparently have plans to incorporate an eBook store in the future, but I'd love to be able to upload my own eBooks into the reader—I have quite a few sitting around on my hard drive.
I suspect that your mileage may vary with QuickReader. I was already a relatively fast reader (a little over a page per minute with a real book?), and I adapted to the methods used here quickly. Others may struggle. Still, for me, it's an incredibly useful tool, and I'm glad that I downloaded it. If you're a frequent reader, you should definitely give this application a try; even if the price makes you hesitate, you need to check out the lite version. The effects are nothing short of magical.