Read much faster

“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.”

-Joseph Addison

Written by: Scott Dinsmore

Average Read Time: 3.5 Minutes (1 minute if you were using these tools…)

Who wants to read a bit faster? Stupid question, I know. Well then let’s do something about it.

All of us read online. While nothing beats the distraction-free paper book when it comes to reading experience, there’s no question that the screen is taking over. And distractions are everything but impossible to avoid: email, ads, surfing, Facebook, Twitter.

We need to get focused. With focus comes efficiency.

Over the past two years of teaching speed reading to students and businessmen, I’ve found some killer online tools that actually work. They will get you focused and you’ll read more in less time.

6 Free Tools for Speed Reading Anything 2-3x Faster Online

1. RSVP Reader for Firefox. My favorite tool. This alone will likely double or triple your speed. A plugin that allows you to read what’s on the page by flashing chunks of words in your toolbar. You can control how many words you see and the speed of the text. Perfect for practice or everyday reading. Set the speed higher than you’re comfortable with for a little training exercise.

While using your hand or pen as a guide is crucial for speed reading paper text, it’s challenging online. This reader serves as a guide/pacer without your finger greasing up your screen. The only downfall is it won’t work for reading emails with most services. There are similar but less powerful versions such as Reasy, for Chrome and other browsers. Here’s more on RSVP Readers. Demo video here.

2. Spreeder. Same concept as RSVP Reader but with this one you copy and paste the text into a window on their webpage. It then flashes words in a similar format and you can control the speed, length, etc. Lot’s of great options. Awesome for PDF’s, Word docs or long emails since the RSVP Reader doesn’t support those.

3. Readability. So simple yet so necessary. This is a bookmarklet that converts any web page into a plain black and white nicely formatted presentation of the text. No links, no ads, no distractions. Pure blissful focus. You can adjust just about everything under the sun but the settings right out of the box seem perfect for me. There is a lot of brain power and research behind ideal online reading format that went into this one.

4. Quick Reader for iPhone and iPad. Search for ‘speed reading’ in the Apple App Store and there’s way too much to handle. We tested every one and this is far and away the best. The founder is super passionate about reading too. It offers speed reading practice, drills, tests and general reading. Best way I’ve found to practice and improve on the go. Comes with a handfull of pre downloaded books (some are acutally cool) and connects with Project Gutenberg for a ton more titles. The functionality of this one blows my mind. And best of all, it’s a ton of fun to use. Free version gives you plenty and the paid one is only $4.99.

5. Read it Later. You ever notice at the end of the day you have a browser with 50 tabs open to all the articles and blogs you came across that you wanted to read? I do. But you don’t want to bookmark them because you only need to read each one once. This solves it. It’s a bookmarklet that hangs out in your toolbar. Every time you come across a sexy article worth saving, click a little check mark and it’s added to your reading queue up in the cloud. Revisit the queue at any time to read one of your articles. Once you’re done reading, it disappears from the list.

The best part of it…There’re apps for just about every mobile device including iPad and iPhone and they all automatically sync so you can pull up your reading list anywhere, even without an internet connect. So sweet! Much more efficient than reading articles throughout the whole day. Batch your reading and get productive.

6. Google Reader. This one’s probably obvious to most. Super simple RSS reader. Keeps clutter out of your inbox. Constantly updates your favorite news articles, blogs, etc. with everything in one place. Check it out.

The Power of Focus

The biggest characteristic of doing anything well, whether it’s ripping through a book at warp speed or shaving 2 minutes off your marathon time, is Focus. A simple concept but one that’s getting harder and harder to experience.

All these tools really do is make it easier to focus. They throw the distractions out the window and get you to drill down to the important. I have no doubt that if you begin to use any one of these, let alone the combo of how they can work together, your online reading rate will go through the roof. 2-3x or more wouldn’t be surprising.

Other tips for concentrated reading:

  • Do it first thing in the morning
  • Stay present
  • Use your hand or pen as a guide
  • Turn on airplane mode and disconnect
  • Sit upright
  • Be alone

Editor’s Note: I’ve since wrote an article strictly dedicated to Focus – 11 Steps to Insane Focus: Do More of What Matters.

Being able to crush through my books and articles gave me a new found excitement for reading. It’s an excitement that can change your life. It’s why this site exists. It’s why I’m an entrepreneur. It’s why I see the world the way I do.

If you are dedicated to a life worth living, then reading and learning is not an option. It’s a daily requirement.

So get focused, use these tools and start digesting the sweet brain nectar like never before.

What are your best tricks for tearing through books and articles? What helps you focus? Please join the conversation in the comments section below. Even a few words or one sentence goes a long way.

Other Resources to Help You Along the Way:

7 Quick Steps to Finishing a Non-Fiction Book in Half the Time While Retaining Twice as Much

11 Steps to Insane Focus: Do More of What Matters

How to Speed Read with an RSVP Reader

In-Person Iris Speed Reading Courses (mention this site and you’ll get a discount)

The Art of Slowing Down: 12 Simple Steps

20 Presence Hacks: A Guide to ‘Right Now’

  • Tyler Manuel

    Hi Scott,
    Love this! Would you mind adding Tyler to you contacts? I end up fowarding most everything to him.
    Your amazing, thank you for all you do! Love Karey

  • Scott

    My pleasure Karey!

    Tyler actually has to sign up himself in order to get updates (I cannot enter people’s email unless they approve–it’s a legal thing).

    Please have him or you go to this page below and then put his name and email where it’s asked near the bottom of the page. He will then have to confirm it in his email and then he’s all set! He can also do it near the upper right of any page on the site.

    Thanks for all the awesome support!!


  • Joe Wilner


    Thanks for the resources and suggestions. Coming down to focus is a great notion. I think that’s a valid point. When we are enjoying reading, aren’t distracted, and have full attention, it certainly makes retaining the information much easier. I have always been able to skim when reading pretty well, though I wonder sometimes how this impacts retention and recall of the information. What do you think?

    • Scott

      When it comes to skimming it’s really tough to get all the info. By no means did I mean to suggest skimming as a solution to reading faster. In my in person courses as well as online, out tools are to get people to actually read faster while still reading, not skimming. Makes a huge difference for comprehension and retention. Hope that helps!

  • Shabana Tetek

    When I was little, I remember there was this advertisement on Speed reading on TV Innovations. I think it was called Megareader. Honestly, I thought it was bullocks. And I thought I was going to expect the same thing when I read post title. But boy was I wrong. Your tips are legit and make sense. I admire your writing when you mention about Focus. To me, that is the most important core value that anyone needs to have in order to accomplish just about anything you could imagine of. With no focus, there will be no success.

  • Clement See

    Hey Shabana! I actually remembered about the advertisement on Megareader. My dad actually bought it and guess what, it didn’t really worked as advertised.

    The only thing that work is staying focus! And you got that right Scott, With focus, comes efficiency! Just like with great power comes great responsibility

  • Timothy

    This is the first time i have ever, had this problem on staying focus. In high school i have made excellent grades, my first few weeks of college was GREAT. Now im trying to study for this history exam, which is tomorrow. I have never cram for a test, but for some reason i dont want to study. when i do study i find excuses to stop, i dont know whats wrong with me i just cant stay focus anymore.

  • Clement See

    You might be too stressed about the test so you automatically try to avoid it. It happens all the time, We can’t study every second of the day. I recommend that when you feel like this, get out and walk around and get some fresh air out in the sunlight. Forcing yourself to sit through it will just make you less focused.

    Get more sleep maybe.

    Also, cramming is a no no. Nobody wants to do a huge pile of work all at once. Cut it down and organize it into pieces so it doesn’t seem so extensive and large.

  • Alex

    Ive used the Quick reader application and I think it was one of the best app Ive ever purchased from the apple store. If you’re an avid reader and you’re looking for an app reader which will increase both efficiency and productivity, then this is a must get app for you!

  • Isabelle Laporte

    RSVP Reader for Firefox seems great, but only supports Firefox 1.0 – 3.5. I have latest version (3.6.13), so couldn’t download. I hope the app will be updated soon. Will check out your other suggestions in the meantime. Thanks.

  • Mayra

    Hello, I’m mexican, Thank you very much! This information is to much helpful!!!
    Muchas gracias, es muy útil !!!

  • Mark Kamoski

    Check out “Clearly” online here and it you might like it to help format pages for easier and faster reading.

  • Alan Moor

    One more web article and books speed reading app

  • Ashley

    Scott, There’s so much great info here The Best 6 Free Tools for Speed Reading Anything 2-3x Faster Online. Under your Editor’s Note, you have…”I’ve since wrote…” That should say “I’ve since written…” You’re material is too good for an error like that! Just thought you’d like to edit it. Thanks for the info. Truly appreciated!

  • Alok Bhargava

    Thanks a lot scott, it helps me to judge the work that what i love.

  • Reyna

    Thank you very much Scott for this wealth of information! I love reading and have been looking for ways to boost my speed. The Fire Fox tool doesn’t work on Mac does it?

  • Sam Shearman

    I’d love to get RSVP for FIrefox, but it isn’t compatible with the latest release of Firefox.

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    RSVP Reader for Chrome (FREE)
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  • Rachel

    Dear Scott,
    Thanks for giving these tips and resources for better reading! I have an 11 year old daughter that is reading 196 words per minute now and have been looking for ways to help her get even faster while still retaining what she’s read, these are gonna be great for her! She’s my world and I’ve worked with her so much every since she was born trying to give her a good future. I started reading to her when i found out i was pregnant and have dedicated all my time to her since then, she’s excelling in school way more than i could ever of dreamed of (honestly she’s passing me up, lol) but I’m always looking for new ways to challenge her and she’s always up for those new challenges so she is gonna absolutely LOVE these resources! Again thank you so much for these wonderful tips and resources. Please continue to provide these resources and tips!

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  • Krusty

    You rock! Was looking for a reader for pdf, and just wasn’t finding til i looked at your list…much appreciated.

  • Willy Meléndez

    Por favor enviarme información en español.

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    Thank you for these useful information

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  • speedreadermatt

    Here’s a new online tool for speed reading with a context button as well as a choice of seeing preceding and aftergoing text which can be turned on/off

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