The Zen of Spreed

As a long time tester and now user of Spreed I’d like to share some personal observations about my own learning curve with Spreed.

When I read I notice that I can hear in my “mind’s ear” the words as I go. I think (hope) this is fairly normal. I understand that lots of talented musicians have a similar but more developed ability to actually “hear” music in this way. Young readers who have not yet developed their minds ear often sub-vocalize words as they read them. They actually engage their vocal chords to speak the words as they read – usually in a barely audible mumble. This verbal cue is a crutch they use comprehend until their “mind’s ear” develops. I think Spreed can help us move even beyond this “mental sub-vocaliztion.”

This was revealed to me when I was fooling around with very high speeds just for fun. At 600, 700, 800 even 900 words per minute your mind’s ear can’t keep up. When this happens there is a momentary panic reaction or gag reflex of confusion. You get an overwhelming urge to stop and go back. Most of the time I would submit and would turn down the speed and start over. A few times I just relaxed let Spreed run at high speed and “let go” of the effort of trying to read. I tried to let myself watch the screen like I would look at a painting or a photo. Remarkably, in this Zen of Spreed state I found that I was still absorbing the information although it did not much feel like reading as I knew it. I think its a similar transition that children make as they move to silent reading. It feels a bit foreign at first but with some practice at persisting through the initial panic of losing the voice in your mind’s ear, you can dramatically increase your reading speeds. I suppose it makes sense that this would be the case. The incoming information stream at 300 words per minute is but a trickle compared to the brain’s innate capacity to process information.

Try it out! I’d like to hear what others think about this and whether they have similar experiences or not.

Posted by Patrick Keefe

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Filed under education, Reading

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