A few days ago, I discovered that Amazon added Word Runner, a speed reading feature, to their Kindle app. I’ve wanted to try this method of reading (RSVP) for a while but it wasn’t convenient enough for me. (Or so I thought. Thanks to @sethionic for sharing aboutReadline.)
Word Runner works by flashing individual words in the center of the screen just long enough for your brain to register them but not long enough for you to vocalize them. That’s the key to fast reading; vocalization is unnecessary and slows you down.
Word Runner has been my primary Bible reading tool for the last few days and I’ve noticed three distinct benefits:
1. It forces you to focus
I get distracted easily. Whether it’s the kids making noise or a new notification on my phone, it is sometimes hard for me to focus. Having the words flash continuously on a screen takes away the ability to simply glance away at a distraction. You can stop reading any time by clicking pause, but this takes a bit more intentionality. So your eyes stay focused on the words and are much less likely to drift away. Staying focused on the words also helps you internalize the message more deeply.
2. It forces you to stay on pace
Sometimes it’s nice to slow down and re-read a passage to make sure you understand the content. You can still do this with Word Runner as you can pause and rewind, but it generally keeps you moving forward at a consistent pace. I can read and comprehend several chapters much faster now using Word Runner.
3. It helps you absorb the concepts in a fresh way
Whether you have read the Bible for many years or are just starting, using a fresh method can open your eyes to understanding the content in a new way. Listening to the audio version is a great approach (the YouVersion app has free audio bibles). As you listen, you’ll think about the concepts differently as you don’t spend any energy on reading and can simply absorb the message as someone reads to you. Another great method is reading in a different version (try the New Living Translation, the New English Translation (free), or the Holman Christian Standard Bible (free).
Speed reading through Word Runner has a similar result. As the words flash on the screen individually, I am forced to consider the meaning of the sentence and not simply take its structure on the page for granted. There is a unique sensation that feels almost subliminal as information is transferred from scripture to my brain.
I have noticed a number of fascinating insights into the text through speed reading that were always there but didn’t jump out at me through normal methods. The same can be said for listening and reading in alternative versions.
I recommend rotating between three different methods of scripture reading to keep things fresh and gain new insights into God’s Word. I am currently reading through the New Living Translation instead of the English Standard Version (free) that I usually study. I grew up on the King James Version, then the New King James, then the New International Version.
I use the YouVersion app to track my reading plans and mark off chapters. But I’m reading on the Kindle app with Word Runner because YouVersion has no speed reading functionality.
I would love to hear what you do to keep your scripture reading fresh and gain new insights into God’s word!