Best speed reading software 2018 – programs and online courses

The software is our top pick because it’s extremely easy to use and includes so many resources. The program is divided into training courses and practice exercises, so you divide your time between learning about speed reading and practicing it. This software’s training exercises focus on improving your speed by training your eyes and your memory. During these exercises, 7 Speed Reading flashes phrases on the screen, which teaches your brain to read by grouping words together rather than by focusing on them individually. The program comes with a built-in library of over 20,000 eBooks you can use during training. You can also import PDFs and entire webpages to practice your speed reading – for example, you can upload and practice with material you need to read for work or school.


The software lets you customize font and text size so you don’t strain your eyes, and you can adjust the reading speed so you can still comprehend the text. This software is more expensive than several other programs we tested, and your license expires after 10 years. However, that should be more than enough time to increase your reading speed. Also, you can install the program on an unlimited number of computers.

Rather than use digital games or activities to improve your eyes’ span and increase rapid eye movement, it has a series of videos that describe how to begin speed reading with materials you encounter every day such as assigned texts for class or books. The CEO provides much of the instruction in a series of videos that were recorded in a classroom setting. Of the programs we reviewed, we were the most impressed with the quality of Iris’ video production. While there aren’t digital activities embedded in the software, Iris recommends some printable activities and tests you can use to track your progress. It also links to a free tachistoscope program online, which can flash copied text at your desired words-per-minute goal. We think the course is more reasonably priced than Rev it Up Reading, despite the latter’s inclusion of a few more digital activities. If you’re interested in this program, check out the course Iris has set up with Lynda.com. It’s a better value because you can access dozens of other helpful courses like the one you find at Iris.

Over the years, some incredible claims have been made about how quickly humans can read. Reports of American presidents, such as John F. Kennedy, reading at speeds over 1,000 words per minute have perpetuated the creation of online and correspondence courses as well as seminars. There are even a few competitions where readers clock incredible speeds. However, according to most of the research we found, the average human’s comprehension drops off precipitously at about 600 words per minute. Olga Khazan, a writer for The Atlantic, reported, “in the World Championship Speed Reading Competition, top contestants read about 1,000 to 2,000 words per minute, but they only understand about half of what they take in.”

Another article from the Guardian states most readers average a pace of about 250 to 300 words a minute. Most of the programs we reviewed guarantee a two- to three-times increase in speed. While it’s possible to increase your reading speed, we’d hesitate to use any programs that make claims about speeds over 1,000 words per minute – if you reach such speeds, you should be aware of how it impacts the amount of information you retain. That’s why we think comprehension tests, like the ones you find in the very best speed reading software, are so important as you train.

The programs we tested use eye exercises, tests and practice materials to overcome some of the natural habits we develop while reading. For example, many focus on eliminating regression, or rereading passages you’ve already read. They also target subvocalization, where you sound out the words in your mind. Both habits can slow a reader down. Many of the programs use eye exercises to help you reduce fixation, or the amount of time you need to spend on a word before you move on.