The top performers in our review are 7 Speed Reading, the Gold Award winner; AceReader, the Silver Award winner; and The Reader’s Edge, the Bronze Award winner. Here's more on choosing speed reading software to meet your needs, along with detail on how we arrived at our ranking of these 10 programs.
We live in an increasingly busy world, and sometimes it can feel like there is too much to read, whether it’s a barrage of memos and emails for work or the news stories, text messages and social media posts you encounter every day. This can be compounded if you are a student with a heavy course load. And, should you ever want to read a book for personal pleasure, you may feel like you don’t have enough time to finish, much less enjoy it, which can leave you feeling frustrated.
Speed reading software can help you learn to read faster and increase your reading comprehension so you no longer feel overwhelmed by the volume of emails, reports and memos at work or homework, if you're a student. Along with learning to read faster and comprehending more material, high school students can benefit from using ACT/SAT prep software to help them prep for college entrance exams. Together, speed reading software and ACT/SAT prep software make for efficient studying and subject comprehension. For more information on speed reading software methods and features, check out our articles on speed reading software.
Most available speed reading software comes with a variety of exercises, tests and eye-strengthening trainings designed to help you reduce bad habits while working to improve your reading fluidity and overall comprehension. Gaining skills that help you read faster can ultimately open up more time for you so you can get other tasks done more quickly. It can also help you efficiently and enjoyably read that latest thriller or murder mystery that has been sitting on your nightstand for months.
Like so many other programs that are transitioning from traditional installed software to cloud-based, speed reading software is also in the midst of a transition. Most software gives you the option of downloading it to your computer, though some can be accessed via a web browser. Some are still available via CD-ROM of the software, if you prefer.
Some users still prefer the "feel" of traditional software, much like some readers who prefer the tactile experience of turning the individual pages of a physical book versus swiping pages on an eReader. Additionally, universities, schools and other organizations typically are not interested in a speed reading app unless it is connected to pre-existing software.
It is important to consider who will use the software, whether it’s just you or whether it will be used by a school or organization. Certain software products only work for one user and computer; others allow unlimited users on unlimited devices.
We tested some of the best speed reading software programs to determine the quantity and quality of each application's included features and material. The best speed reading software has an intuitive interface and series of exercises, tests and reading material for any age. Additionally, we also checked to see if everything that was advertised, such as speed-reading and eye-training exercises as well as full report functionality, was included and the extent of each unit’s functionality.
Exercises & Tests: Skills to Help You Level Up
There are a variety of techniques that high-quality software can introduce to help you learn to read faster. These are presented through exercises to help you develop these skills and then tests you to gauge your progress. What most people may not know about speed reading software is that the training exercises go beyond simply reading passages of text and gradually working to increase your speed. They include object-oriented eye-training games designed to increase your focus and field of vision. Additionally, you may find that some programs have daily limits so as to reduce eye strain, though you may find as you practice that you are capable of doing more.
One thing to keep in mind as you are training is not to try and read faster than you're actually able to just to boost your score. To deter against this, most software programs administer comprehension tests to make sure you understand the subject matter. They also test your current speed and chart your progress so you can see your improvement as well as the areas you struggle with. Good speed reading software comes with educational games that hone your skills without the intensity of the exercises and tests. Above all, good software should be easy to use, letting you put your training into action instead of reading material from a user manual.
Settings & Resources: Customize Your Text & Speed
Though the software is structured to teach and guide as you increase your reading speed, most programs let you customize certain settings and even the practice reading texts. They realize speed reading can be a moderately difficult skill to learn, and software manufacturers want to make the learning process as easy and pleasant as possible. Look for software that lets you change text into your favorite font and font size.
You may also find the learning process easier if the software lets you import your favorite text, or if it has the capacity to work with your favorite websites, such as Wikipedia or various news sites. If you don’t want to import text files, you may want to look for software that comes with a large selection of eBooks. Many come pre-stocked with favorites from classic literature, young adult fiction and popular biographies.
Reporting & Security: Keep Track So You Stay On Track
There are many different speed reading techniques featured in these programs, and the best software should not just reinforce them through exercises, but it should also let you pull reports to see your progress whenever you want. Ideally, the reports should be easy to pull and understand. Many of them use simple, colorful pie charts and bar graphs that load quickly instead of data that has to be exported to word processing or spreadsheet software.
If you are looking for speed reading software for your school, company or any other type of organization, make sure it has a licensing option for unlimited users and administrative privileges. Group user software typically lets each unique user have a password-protected profile, and a software administrator can toggle other options regarding access to exercises, testing reports, the reading library or profile customization. If you are just a single user, all software, whether or not it has group-user functionality, will work just fine for you.
Help & Support: Get Questions Answered and Free Upgrades
Learning a new skill can be tricky, and learning a new software program on top of that can be a deal breaker. Good software should not only be intuitive, it should have guides, tips and tutorials to help you. Some manufacturers may even have a frequently asked questions section on their website or a customer support center that you can use as a resource. Besides offering customer support, we found that the best software comes with free lifetime updates, letting you work with the latest exercises, tests, games and texts. Updated software should also keep up with new computer operating systems and web browsers.
Supported Configurations: Match, Don’t Mix
It's important to check which operating system your computer runs on before buying any piece of software. All of the speed reading software we featured on our lineup is compatible with Windows XP, but only about half are capable of running on Windows 7 or 8. If you prefer working on OS X, only a few are compatible with more recent versions. If you prefer Linux, you’re not totally out of luck, as there are a few options for you, such as Speed Reader-X.
Top Ten Reviews seeks, whenever possible, to evaluate all products and services in hands-on tests that simulate as closely as possible the experiences of a typical consumer. We obtained the software in our comparison through retail purchase. The manufacturers had no input or influence over our test methodology, nor was the methodology provided to any of them in more detail than is available through reading our reviews. The results of our evaluations were not provided to software manufacturers in advance of publication.
Three speed reading software applications – 7 Speed Reading, our Gold Award winner; AceReader, our Silver Award winner; and The Reader’s Edge, our Bronze Award winner – rose above the rest in our comparison, mostly because of their wide variety of exercises and tests, settings, reporting functions, and customer support. These are the factors we gave the most weight to in our rankings.
7 Speed Reading edges out the other two programs because it's easy to use; it has extensive reporting and user customization options as well as outstanding customer support; and it has a wide variety of speed, comprehension and eye-training exercises. AceReader has a large selection of eBooks to choose from as well as a wide variety of resources and report options. The Reader’s Edge has an intuitive and visually appealing interface; engaging exercises; and several speed, text and user customization options.
For those wanting to increase their reading speed and comprehension but who are on a budget, EyeQ software is a great deal, with monthly subscriptions as low as $15 a month. At any price, speed reading software can help you develop skills that are great if you need or want to read a lot of content.