Spritz: Changing the Face of Reading?

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When first coming across the news that Boston based Spritz had developed an app that could supposedly allow a person to read entire novels in 90 minutes, it’s hard not to be sceptical.  English students everywhere have all experienced the frenzied reading that comes the day before lectures that achieves them a coveted seminar participation mark and who can say they’ve never read Wikipedia when a module text threatens a Sleeping Beauty curse?  Well for once, and quite surprisingly, the technology buffs at Spritz may have actually pulled through on their promise.

Using the eye’s natural resting place on the page as the centre point for each individual word, Spritz designed the app so that the text flashes onto the page at adjustable speeds with minimum effort from the reader.  With the elimination of eye movement and the app doing all the work, all that’s left is for you to sit back and basically have a book read to you. 

While it is explained in a very scientific manner, it still seems a little too good to be true, but I can guarantee there is method in the madness.  As you begin on a slow speed for the app, it is quite amazing how your eyes quickly adjust and read the text being thrown at you, as the speed increases so does your recognition of what you are being read.  It is possible that this device could go on to help develop people’s reading abilities, but, then again, will it eliminate the necessary close reading analysis for seminars?

On first glance, I admit, I thought it would be a lazy way of getting students through module texts and would take away the enjoyment of leisurely reading, but I find myself wanting to use the app to read War and Peace so I can boast about how quick I managed to plough through it.     

Becky Healey

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