PROS / Useful eye-strengthening and newspaper-reading exercises supplement Ultimate Speed Reader's training program.
CONS / It only accommodates one user, and book passages are the only reading material you can use in the software.
VERDICT / Ultimate Speed Reader is older software that teaches accelerated reading, and lacks several features, like a robust reading selection. However, its simplicity makes it a good choice if you're seeking basic speed-reading software.
Editor's Note: This review has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it has been discontinued. The original review is below, but check out our current top seven about speed reading software here.
Ultimate Speed Reader is a basic but easy-to-use speed-reading software. Although it offers fewer exercises, reading material and user accounts than our higher-ranked services do, it can still effectively improve reading speed and includes interesting exercises that supplement its lessons.
Ultimate Speed Reader has six levels of instruction to increase your visual perception, improve your peripheral acuity and enhance your memory, all of which yield faster reading and better comprehension skills. It is one of the few applications in our accelerated reading software lineup that doesn't use the technique where groups of words flash on your screen to increase the eye's fixation span. Instead, the software primarily uses highlighted word groups. It displays the full text, with groups of words bolded as you read along. Highlighted word groups are a proven method for teaching speed-reading, but most speed-reading companies consider the flash method better.
In addition to its six-level training program, this accelerated-reading software includes an eye game, paced reading, timed reading and newspaper reading. You can practice any of these at your leisure to supplement the training program. Ultimate Speed Reader also provides eye-strengthening exercises. Eye strength plays an important role in learning how to read faster, as it increases your peripheral vision and fixation span. This software also lets you practice reading vertical columns of text and standard book-sized horizontal lines of prose.
Ultimate Speed Reader will work for both children and adults, though it only allows one user per license. The software does not designate specific reading levels or grades, but you can manually adjust the words-per-minute rate and choose age-appropriate reading material for each user.
In terms of reading material, the speed-reading software includes only book passages – no full eBooks. Unfortunately, these passages are your only option for reading material in Ultimate Speed Reader; you cannot import your own documents or web text. This doesn't negate the validity of the lessons, but it could make it tedious if you aren't enjoying the material or if you want to use this program to keep your skills fresh and end up reading the same material over again.
Knowledge Adventure, a reputable producer of educational computer programs and games, produced this software, but no longer supports it. Also, the company no longer updates the program, so it may not run on newer computers.
Ultimate Speed Reader lacks versatile options for reading material and multiple user accounts, but its exercises will help you become a more efficient reader. The extra practice opportunities and eye exercises also make it a good choice if you are in the market for basic speed-reading software.