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Ace Reader

With the advent of the Internet, we are faced with an ever-expanding avalanche of information–information that we must READ. If we don’t stay on top of the latest information, we risk falling behind in our jobs and in life. Speed Reading is a method of improving a reader’s reading ability, improving both the speed at which a text can be assimilated, and the level of understanding of the material.

Applying speed-reading techniques gives the following benefits:

    1. Large volumes of information can be assimilated rapidly.
    2. By reading faster and absorbing more information into short-term memory, the meaning and structure of a document is easier to see.
    3. Your eyes have to do less work, meaning that reading for long periods can be less tiring.

Most people have many bad habits that reduce their reading speed. These habits include reading either letter-by-letter, or at best word-by-word, high fixation time (the time you take to move from one word or group of words to the next when reading), low fixation span (the number of words that you read at a time when you are reading), sub-vocalization (moving your lips when reading) and so on.

You may also notice that you don’t always proceed from one block of words to the next: sometimes you may move back to a preceding block of words if you are unsure about something. These disruptions to the forward flow of reading are called ‘skip-backs’ or regression.

A skilled reader will read many words in each fixation (typically from five to an entire line), will only fixate for a very short period of time (maybe quarter of a second), and will move on with very few skip-backs. This minimizes the amount of work that the reader’s eyes have to do, increases the volume of information that can be examined in a period of time, and maximizes understanding of the material.

A poor reader will become bogged down, spending a lot of time reading small fixations. He or she will skip back often, losing the flow and structure of the text and hence overall understanding of the subject. The increased amount of irregular eye movement will make the reading tiring. A poor reader may therefore find the text significantly less satisfying, and may find it harder to concentrate and understand the text than a good reader.

AceReader from StepWare, Inc., is a an award winning (Nominated for the year 2000 SIAF Best Educational Program, Winner of the 1999 FamilyPC ZD Shareware Awards competition in “Education” category, Winner of the 1999 ZD Shareware Awards competition as FamilyPC’s Program of the Year, Winner of the 1999 SIAF Peoples Choice Award as the Best Educational Program) productivity and self-improvement educational reading tool. It improves the reading skills in four main ways:

    1. Reducing regression
    2. Reducing fixation time
    3. Expanding the fixation zone
    4. Eliminating sub-vocalization

AceReader utilizes two technologies-Rapid Serial Visual Presentation (RSVP), and Tachistoscopic Scroll Presentation (TSP). When AceReader is in RSVP mode, text is displayed in the center of the text area. RSVP can be used to read faster than normal because your eyes do not need to move. In RSVP mode, the words come to your eyes instead of your eyes going to the words. When AceReader is in TSP mode, text is displayed in a manner that forces the reader’s eyes to move just like they do in normal reading. TSP can be used to train the reader to read in a normal fashion at higher speeds.

In both the modes AceReader helps in improving the reading speed by reducing regression, increasing fixation span, reducing fixation time and eliminating sub-vocalization. In today’s computer world where more that 80% of the information is available in the soft form, the AceReader is an invaluable tool for the information worker. It is an ideal tool for students, researchers, executives, and people who deal with vast amounts of information. It is ideal for people who have physical limitations as in the RSVP mode one can read without moving their head or eyes. Also there are features that help people with poor vision and other problems and dyslexia.

I have tried and tested many speed-reading programs. But AceReader helps to improve your reading speed (both online and offline) much faster and with lesser effort. This is a software that should be a permanent fixture in your computer as it can deliver dramatic improvements in your productivity and efficiency.

You can download a 30-day demo version of AceReader from the AceReader Web Site. You can get more details of AceReader and ordering information from the same place.

Alexis Leon