Master Speed Reading with ReadQuick

When did reading become a labor rather than a love? Was it in school when we were forced to read stuff we didn’t like – all while balancing homework assignments from other courses? That may have been a contributing factor, but was it maybe because you felt you were a slow reader? While other kids were (allegedly) zipping through the third chapter, were you still on the tome’s third page trying to absorb each detail?

Maybe now the challenge of slow reading finds you hoarding articles online, saying “I’ll get to them … one day.” Instead of filling up your bookmarks, maybe it’s time you tried ReadQuick, the iPad app that aims to make your reading more rapid and your absorption of the text immediate. Can ReadQuick help you cut through lengthy reads in a fraction of the time? Find out after the break.

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Pick Your Content

ReadQuick pulls its material from a few different sources. Its content partners include websites such as The Morning News, The Feature, Talking Points Memo and, appropriately, Longreads, all of which showcase lengthy reading material.

Choose content from ReadQuick's partners or pull from your Instapaper account.

Choose content from ReadQuick’s partners or pull from your Instapaper account.

You will also have the option of browsing through websites within the app to find even more online content to check out.

The one that gives you the most control of your reads is Instapaper. If you’ve signed up for the service and linked it to your ReadQuick account, you’ll have access to articles that you’ve saved online, on your iPad or your iPhone.

Picking Up the Pace

Once you have chosen an article that you want to read from your lists, a screen will prompt you to get ready. All it takes to begin is double-tapping the screen.

From there, the words will flash across the middle of the screen at the rate you have chosen. Of course, this speed is adjustable, so you can read at the level at which you can best process the text. Eventually you can start moving the counter upward, allowing you to knock out even longer pieces of journalism and literature.

Change the words-per-minute pace by adjusting the count on the left.

Change the words-per-minute pace by adjusting the count on the left.

Obviously you’ll be paying very close attention to the screen in the beginning, but the good thing with ReadQuick is the size of the text. At the normal setting, it’s quite easy to see the black text against the white background, but you can easily increase the size it appears beforehand.

Additionally, there is a “night” option, where the colors of the text and the background screen will switch, leaving the screen black and the words white.

The difference between ReadQuick's "day" (left) and "night" (right) reading options.

The difference between ReadQuick’s “day” (left) and “night” (right) reading options.

ReadQuick only features one word on the screen at a time (unless, of course, someone forgot to put a space between punctuation and the start of the following sentence, which can make for some messy reading and a case for hiring copy editors). What that does to differentiate it from other speed-reading methods is that you won’t be distracted by the words above or below, or even have to deal with a line ending and shifting your eyes back to the left side of the page. Instead, your focus is on a single word – or rather a blur of words.

Need to stop reading mid-article? Simply touch the screen to pause. You can also hit the reset text to go back to the article’s beginning.

Pick Up Some New Tricks

Now, in the quest to become a speed reader, one thing will become apparent when reading an article in ReadQuick. The focus will become less about “saying” the word to yourself in your head, a tactic many speed-reading methods recommend. Instead, you’ll be forced to keep up with the text that’s being thrown at you.

A look at how the articles start (left) and end (right) on ReadQuick.

A look at how the articles start (left) and end (right) on ReadQuick.

But this seems to work, as you subconsciously process the literature, assuming the speed at which you read is one that allows for this. Yes, it may be tempting to up the word count per minute, but keep in mind that your goal here is to retain as much of what you’ve read as possible.

Keep practicing until you find a speed that is comfortable for you – and then challenge yourself to skim through a little bit faster.

If you are the type who likes to brag, ReadQuick obliges. The app allows you to share your progress through social media and email, complete with a link to the story you’ve finished and your accomplishment of reading it at a certain pace.

Get a progress report (left) and make adjustments to the text for easier reading (right).

Get a progress report (left) and make adjustments to the text for easier reading (right).

Favoriting is also a feature in ReadQuick if you’re particularly in love with a piece you’ve read. Simply tap the heart icon to store it in your favorites list for a future re-read or to share with friends.

Are you curious to see how you’re doing in your quest to be a speed reader? The stats button keeps track of your progress. Here, you can see how many articles and words you’ve read in the span of a week, month and year. There will also be tallies for your top reading sources, as well as your average speed.

Is ReadQuick Fundamental?

ReadQuick manages to be fun while it helps improve upon a skill. With the variety of sources at your fingertips, you’re able to read what you like or what you “have” to, but you can get through it in record time. The plain screen with a single word also prevents you from getting distracted by on-screen annoyances, such as ads, instant messages or blinking tabs.

With the stats, it’s very easy to see how good you’re becoming at flying through articles, though it will take some internal evaluation to recognize how well you’re retaining the information. What’s also useful is that the tips you learn can carry over to reading on other screens or even offline. Though the reading format is unique to ReadQuick, it’s the perfect practice to help you gain the skills to start conquering your hefty reading lists.


Tools and tests teach you how to rapidly read any text.