You may be one of the many people who used to enjoy reading, you read a lot when you were younger or you just don’t have the time to read anymore. It might not be through a lack of trying. You set yourself up in bed, lamp on and book in hand alongside all the right intentions – but before you know it you’re back scrolling Instagram and Tiktok, watching videos on how to create a wind instrument out of a potato. Yes, these videos exist and yes – I am speaking from experience.
There is a new method that might help you called Bionic Reading. This is a new method which facilitates the reading process by guiding your eyes through text with artificial fixation points (like so).
Bionic reading isn’t going to solve your internet addiction. However, it may help improve your reading ability and encourage a more in-depth reading experience. Although the words are the same, the highlighted letters allow the brain to complete the word without reading it fully.
If you’re curious, I’ve put together a couple of extracts from Alice in Wonderland for you to test it out for yourself, both between 84 – 86 words.
“Come, there’s no use in crying like that!” said Alice to herself, rather sharply. “I advise you to leave off this minute!” She generally gave herself very good advice (though she very seldom followed it), and sometimes she scolded herself so severely as to bring tears into her eyes; and once she remembered trying to box her own ears for having cheated herself in a game of croquet she was playing against herself, for this curious child was very fond of pretending to be two people.
She ate a little bit, and said anxiously to herself, “Which way? Which way?” holding her hand on the top of her head to feel which way it was growing, and she was quite surprised to find that she remained the same size; to be sure, this is what generally happens when one eats cake, but Alice had got so much into the way of expecting nothing but out-of-the-way things to happen, that it seemed quite dull and stupid for life to go on in the common way.
From my personal experience, I found it cut my reading time by 5 seconds (which feels quite a big improvement!) It also felt like my brain needed to concentrate less during the second read, like there was a part of my brain that could relax?
I do think however it depends on what I am reading. When I read a novel, I like to take in the words and let the sentences sit in my brain as I imagine the scenarios. To speed up the process feels like cheating, and may push the scene in my head into fast forward. However, if I’m reading a 700 page thesis about liminal geographical space – I may need all the help I can get. I do wish I knew about this during my English Literature degree.
Give it a go and see what you think!
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The Old Smithy,