Sunday, September 7, 2008

Read Demon - FAQ

This post will be updated with questions and answers regularly. If you still have any questions, please email

Q: What is Read Demon?
A: Read Demon is a speed reading trainer productivity app for the iPhone and iPod Touch. This app trains you to avoid using your 'inner voice' (reading to yourself in your head) the biggest factor in slowing down your reading speed.

Q: When will Read Demon be available?
A: It is available [HERE] at the Apple App Store.

Q: Can we please have a demo video?
A: Yes! I've made a short demonstration video for this app, you will find it on the main page [Here] or on [YouTube]

Q: How do you use Read Demon? What is the principle behind this app?
A: Read Demon is basically a speed reading trainer for the iPhone/Touch platform. The idea is that most people are trained from a young age to read by reading to themselves in their head. This is called subvocalization, or 'hearing an inner voice'. Reading to yourself is a great way to train a novice reader how to enunciate and to familiarize them with sentence structure as well as flow. But, once someone has mastered those basic skills the technique of reading to themselves this technique can actually become a detriment with respect to reading speed.

The reason is simply because when you read to yourself, you enunciate the words as if you are working your vocal cords and muscles. What most people don't realize is, they have the capability of thinking much faster. Specifically, they can think, faster than they can speak using subvocalization. For a large amount of readers this is a serious speed block because it is something that has become habitual and feels natural. They feel as if they've hit terminal velocity on their total reading speed.

Read Demon is simply here to try to break that trend.

When you use Read Demon, it will flash single words of a reading passage onto the screen at a specific rate (words per minute). You can set this rate to a comfortable reading speed to start. But as you read, I encourage you to notice how 'slow' it may feel to read in this fashion. There are two reasons for this. One, by removing the need for your eye muscles to scan, you gain a little bit of speed over traditional reading. Two, it is because you are starting to realize that you read much faster than you think.

By using the speed up [+] button, you can increase the rate at which the words show up. Push yourself, get as fast as you can while still comprehending the text, then go just a little further. After awhile, you'll realize that you can comprehend the words and the passage without reading to yourself. Given enough practice, you will be able to fly through entire passages without pausing.

Q: How should I use Read Demon??
A: First, pick a passage or a book that you want to read through. If you are starting for the first time, pick something at the top of the list where it is easiest. Try the program out and slow down the program until you are reading at your own current pace.

If you are struggling, slow down the WPM rate. Speed up the rate by 10 words per minute and continue reading until you don't notice the speed difference. Then speed it up again. Repeat this until you reach a point where you can barely keep up. At that moment, think about how fast you are sub-vocalizing (reading to yourself) the words in your own mind. Now, speed up again, and try to read to yourself faster. When you hit the absolute limit of your inner voice continue for awhile until you get used to the pace.

This is the point when you should start dropping words in your mind. You will find that your brain will stop 'reading aloud' non-essential words and it will be attempting to grab and read only important context words. You will find that it tries to grab names, places, actions and read those while dropping everything else.

The important point here is to allow yourself to accept that your brain doesn't need to read to itself in order to comprehend the words that appear. Once you've seen that, you can continue speeding up the rate and continue to practice reading faster and faster.

At some point, you may realize that you need more context or you are too used to 'chunking' (reading multiple words at once, to obtain context). That is when you can read using the multi-word feature. By displaying multiple words, people who can absorb more text at once, can benefit even more by reading even faster than single word readers.

Q: Will there be additional feature ______?
A: Yes, I am working on updates for the app and will be supporting additional features and lessons. The plan going forward is to have lesson updates for the app as frequent updates, bug fixes and additional features will come when they are done.

Q: What's the latest version, what functions are in each update?
A: Check the version page for more information.

Q: What lessons are current available?
A: These are the initial release lessons included:

1: The Frog-Prince - the Brothers Grimm Tales
2: Hansel and Gretel - the Brothers Grimm Tales
3: A Mad Tea-Party - Excerpt from Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
4: The Raven - Edgar Allen Poe
5: The Tell-Tale Heart - Edgar Allen Poe
6: Huckleberry Finn - Chapter Excerpt, Mark Twain
7: Sense and Sensibility - Chapter Excerpt, Jane Austen
8: Earth to the Moon - Chapter Excerpt, Jules Verne
9: War and Peace - Chapter Excerpt, Leo Tolstoy
10: Geo-Distribution - Excerpt from The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin
11: Foods That Will Win the War: Chapter 1 - C. Houston Goudiss and Alberta M. Goudiss
12: The Time Machine: Chapter 1 - HG Wells
13: War of the Worlds: Chapter 1 - HG Wells
14: War of the Worlds: Chapter 2 - HG Wells
15: A Case of Identity: the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
And More to come!

Q: You never read or post my comments on this blog?! Why not?
A: I moderate and try to reduce the comments on the FAQ page. If you have a question, please send it to: If you have a comment that you want to make, feel free to use the iTunes Store comment system or comment on the main page of this blog. Thanks for your understanding in this matter.

Q: Your site says a patch is available! But I don't see it in the app store...
A: I post the dates in which the App store notifies me that my patch was released. However, I have noticed that there is a significant lag (up to 24 hours) in which all the servers around the world propogate the change and send notifications. If you don't see the update, please try again a day later!

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