Best Speed Reading Software of 2018

Jessica Richards ·
Education Software & Printing Senior Writer
Updated
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We’ve been testing speed reading software since 2006. Recently, we spent more than 40 hours researching the latest information about speed reading and evaluating the most popular programs. Based on our extensive research, we believe 7 Speed Reading is the best option because it has high-quality video and written tutorials, helpful activities, a large library, and good import options.
 

    

Best Overall
7 Speed Reading
This software has thousands of eBooks in its library to practice with, and it gives you periodic tests to see how you are progressing. In addition, it includes helpful eye-training exercises.
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Best Value
Speed Reader-X
If you want to increase your reading speed but don’t want to spend a lot of money, consider our best value pick, Speed Reader-X. It costs less than $30 for a one-year family license.
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Best for Schools
AceReader
AceReader comes in individual and family versions and offers educational pricing so an entire class can use it. As such, it’s our top pick for schools.
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Best Overall
7 Speed Reading is a streamlined, intuitive speed reading program – it’s easy to create an account, take a preliminary speed assessment, and begin working on exercises and listening to 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.
Pros
  • Was the easiest to use in our testing
  • Includes a collection of over 20,000 eBooks
  • Can download on an unlimited number of computers
Cons
  • One of the most expensive programs we tested
  • Graphics in the training lessons feel dated
  • Access expires after 10 years
$79.957 Speed Reading
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Best Value
Speed Reader-X is the cheapest software we tested, and it includes lessons, activities and tests to help you increase your reading speed. You pay for a yearly subscription and can add an unlimited number of users to one account, making it great for families.
Speed Reader-X starts by having you take a test to determine your baseline speed. As you complete the program’s exercises and learn from its instruction, you take more speed tests to see your progress. This software includes eye-training exercises and exercises that widen your field of vision so you can read faster. Speed Reader-X’s premium version comes preloaded with 17,000 eBooks – the second largest library of the programs we tested. When you practice, you can change the speed at which words flash on the screen as well as adjust the font and text size to make the words easier to read. This software looks outdated and isn’t particularly easy to use. Nonetheless, if you want to start speed reading without investing much in a program, Speed Reader-X is the best choice.
Pros
  • You can have an unlimited number of user accounts
  • The software automatically gives you speed and comprehension tests
  • The software includes 17,000 eBooks
Cons
  • The software looks outdated and the website is hard to navigate
  • The software doesn’t include comprehension exercises
  • This software only has a one-year license
$29.95Speed Reader-X
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Best for Schools
AceReader has plans for schools, families and individuals. Also, it offers educational pricing, and its dashboard lets teachers monitor their students’ progress and the material they read for practice. As such, it’s a good option for teachers who want to include speed reading in their curriculum.
This software doesn’t install on your computer – instead, you access it online, so it works well on mobile devices. Its library only includes around 47 eBooks to study and practice with, but some of the texts cover SAT prep and history. Additionally, this program has over 200 training activities that teach students speed reading strategies. With AceReader Elite, students can email their test scores to their teacher, and teachers can create classes and view reports. Reports show reading comprehension scores, test results, word-per-minute speed and other stats. Teachers can also import content for their students to read, and AceReader displays the material’s grade level so you know your students are reading appropriately difficult text.
Pros
  • Can customize content for readers by grade level
  • Includes over 800 comprehension tests
  • Is web-based and works on most devices
Cons
  • No live chat support feature
  • Software looks out of date
  • Few eBooks included with the software
$69.95AceReader
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Best Speed Reading Course
Iris is one of the few programs we reviewed that’s more of an online learning course than software.
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 a 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.
Pros
  • Well-produced videos
Cons
  • Few exercises and activities
$75.00Iris
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Best for College Students
In addition to offering speed reading and mental comprehension and retention exercises, eyeQ has a number of courses designed specifically to help students with test preparation, making it one of the best programs for students preparing to go to, or already in, college.
EyeQ is easily the most up-to-date and easy-to-navigate software we tested, but that might be because it has simple offerings. There’s a daily activity you complete as well as some reporting features. We like that each session is brief and easy to sneak into your day. We also found several games throughout the program designed to help increase response time and field of vision. Of the programs we tested, eyeQ is the best for teenagers or even students slightly younger. You can earn badges, and there’s specific programming for school-age children. We would have liked to have seen a few more features, but its monthly payment plan and free trial allow you to test those it has to see if it’s the best fit for improving your speed reading.
Pros
  • Offers additional courses for test prep
Cons
  • Missing some eBook and exercise activies
$19.99Infinite Mind
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Why Trust Us 

Since 2006, we’ve reviewed the latest and most popular speed reading software. We’ve tested and compared these programs to find out which can improve your reading speed the most.

We didn’t test the multitude of free apps, such as Spritz and Amazon Fire’s Word Runner, that help you speed read by flashing text from articles and books on the screen. Instead, we reviewed downloadable and online speed reading software with exercises and instruction that help you improve your eye muscle movement with daily workouts.

We also spent time researching speed reading to gather the latest information about the topic from the scientific community. Learning more about speed reading helped us evaluate which programs make reasonable claims about improving speed. 


How Much Does Speed Reading Software Cost?

Some programs only require a one-time download fee, though they often have a bit less connectivity than others. You access other programs by paying for a subscription that lasts several days, months or even years. While programs you pay for outright are often cheaper, we found that subscription software usually has more up-to-date features and can help you achieve your goals quickly. The programs we tested range in price from hundreds of dollars to less than $20 a month. We recommend you pay no more than $100 total, whether you opt for a subscription course or a one-time download. 

How We Tested

After downloading each software, we compared its features to those in the other programs we reviewed. We paid special attention to how many people can use the software as well as how many computers you can install it on. We preferred online programs because they are easier to access, and you can use them anywhere you have an internet connection.

We also considered the number of activities and exercises each software includes. Programs with a variety of activities, eye fixation exercises and a tachistoscope are best, and a few even include test preparation and memory improvement add-ons.

Many programs come with eBooks and other texts to read during the exercises and as you practice. We counted the number of eBooks in each software to see which offers the best value overall. We also considered whether you can import your own content into the program. That way, you can read material you’re interested while you practice. 

Does Speed Reading Really Work?

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.

How Do You Become a Speed Reader?

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.

Each program contains different instructions about how to best uses its exercises. We liked programs that offer daily instruction lasting only a few minutes at a time.