Speed-reading is an idea that has been around for a very long time – and it is easy to see the appeal of getting through your growing reading list as fast as possible.
It started out from using simple techniques like using a pen to guide the reader's eye more efficiently across the page and has evolved over the years to become much more sophisticated.
The latest speed-reading technology is represented by Spritz, which flashes one word at a time and anchors each word in the spot where the reader is already gazing.
Although this is not available as an app to let you skim through articles and books yet, there are many speed-reading apps out there.
With this in mind, we've come up with a list of four apps that iPhone and iPad users may want to try out for themselves.
ReadQuick for iOS boldly claims that it is the very best speed-reading app available on the iTunes store and is available for nearly all of the devices in Apple's current catalogue – including the iPhone, iPad and iTouch.
The app takes all of your daily reading and converts it into a list, with content including newspaper articles, blogs, books and even simple things like recipes for an evening meal.
This feature is something offered by no other app – although this has led to it being criticised as a 'quick reading' tool that dissects the content into smaller chunks, rather than helping the user to learn speed-reading techniques.
Acceleread takes a graduated approach to various courses within the app that are designed to improve the user's reading speed over time.
It also aims to improve the rate of comprehension and scanning of texts and offers plenty of tips to help the user overcome bad reading habits.
The courses offer a set of phrases of a text – and these can be customised from your own book collection – to dissect using a variety of techniques that flash up on the screen.
Reading efficiency can be improved by helping to reduce the amount of time the mind wanders between passages of text.
QuickReader focuses its attention on the books in the user's existing collection, as well as providing access to almost 10,000 free ebooks.
The interface is customisable – and this is a feature absent from most other comparable speed-reading apps.
It helps you get out of the habit of reading one word at a time by highlighting several words at once. Three modes are available – normal reading, speed-reading and a speed-reading test.
Criticism has been levelled at the legibility of some of the fonts, as well as the word lookup feature, which directs you to another app. However, the extensive library alone makes QuickReader worth a look.
Outread helps the user to skim through text documents from the internet or those found on Instapaper, Readability, Pocket or Pinboard.
The app shows bigger chunks of text – rather than one word at a time – and guides the eyes through various passages by darkening and highlighting words and using them as markers.
The length of the markers and the speed at which they appear can be adjusted in the settings – and other customisation features include fonts, themes and various modes for dimming and highlighting.