Interruptions and distractions can make reading long articles on the web a time-consuming task, so I was intrigued to come across ZAP Reader, a site that outputs text by flashing words one at a time at whatever rate you choose. The default is 300 words per minute, which I find a bit slow. (According to this test, that’s about the speed I naturally read web pages.) At 375 I can still keep up and understand what I’m reading; 400 seems doable with a little practice.
The reader works because it forces you to stop subvocalizing words and ignore incoming distractions, and because most of the time you can miss a few words and still comprehend meaning. It’s not a service you’d want to use all the time, but for when you just want to mainline a lengthy, factual article, it’s a handy tool. Cut and paste to give it a try.
[Hat tip: David Tufte.]