Speed Reading Software Review

 

 
 
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Speed Reader-X™

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4 stars Ave. rating: 4 from 172 votes.

 

Speed Reader-X™ Reviewer's Comments

 

Our number 1 ranked product is Speed Reader-X from Elite Minds Inc. This Speed Reading trainer was our favorite. Not only was the price reasonable, the features were equal to or superior to higher priced software on the market. It is the best we’ve seen among the speed reading products.

As you learn and practice speed reading techniques you will become more confident. This program is sophisticated and professional with a very polished interface, nice graphics and all around fancy look to it. Speed Reader-X is aimed towards those who truly want to learn and master their ability to speed read without wasting time. It is very much a to-the-point system that dives in quickly and does not have any filler or cute games like clicking on kitty cats or watching tennis balls bounce.



Speed Reader-X screen shots.

The introductory screen allows individual users to log in and see their progress. The software also remembers the last completed lesson. You can create new accounts by clicking the New button. I do not know if there is a limit but I created 12 accounts with no problems. That should be enough for almost any family so everyone can keep track of individual scores in the graph section.

It also has different options for Child or Adult. Selecting one or the other changes the reading texts. All of the lessons appear to be the same, however, but the reading material is different.

 

After you login, you then select the lesson you want to see. There is no limit on how many lessons you can complete in one day but the video lady recommends not more than one per day. You can also repeat a past lesson at any time which is a good idea. I had to repeat some of the lessons to practice the lesson objective. Sometimes I started a lesson and forgot my objective, Duh!

 

 

The lesson objective is on the left hand page. When the lesson loads the video starts playing and the video instructor explains everything to you. You are not in the dark about what you are supposed to be learning like with some of the other programs tested which threw you into a reading session with no instructions. Speed Reader-X explains exactly what you are practicing and learning from each lesson. I failed to grab a screenshot but there is a warm-up exercise before each lesson too.

 

When the training session is completed, you take a timed reading test where your progress is calculated and displayed in the form of a bar chart. The reading test changes each time you take the lesson and you can also load your own text. The program includes a huge library of short and simple articles. You can see past test results in the graph. Mine is a little whacky because I was testing the lessons here and ended some of the sessions early.

 

The 6.0 version has a feature called the Practice Section. It allows you to practice at your own pace by setting the speed and hilight mode and you can also load your custom text file or pick one of the articles or books included on the disk. This feature makes the bonus ebook disk extremely useful. When you use the ebook disk and select a test, it is automatically extracted so it can be loaded in this practice area. I found it to be a lot of fun just playing with the options on this screen but I can also see how it could be useful for someone who reads extremely slowly or extremely fast to set their own speeds and other limits. They could use this screen to practice at a their own reading level instead of following the structured lessons.

 

 

The exercises area uses a tachioscope to teach your brain how to recognize words at very high speeds. This was also a very entertaining part of the software. I spent an hour or more just playing with the options, loading my own text and seeing how fast I could recognize words and phrases. It also allows you to load your own text here which means you can use it to speed read your own books. Here is a tip I learned too. The program requires regular .txt files but if you want to read a PDF file, open it in Adobe Reader, press Ctrl-A to select all text, then right click on the text and select Copy. Then open the Windows program notepad.exe and select File/Paste and bang your pdf file is now in a text format. Just save as a .txt file and you can load it in Speed Reader X.

 

 

Video Tutorial:

The CD-ROM also included a video that demonstrated and explained how to use the software. This was suprisingly helpful and it was nice to know where to start and what to do without having to read a long manual. I wish more software included a getting started video like this.

Ease of Use:  
Speed Reader-X has a professional appearance and navigation system. A novice will appreciate the step by step process.


Feature Set:  
Speed Reader-X has an extensive feature set. The program offers you progress tracking so you can see your progress. You can also re-test at anytime. It includes a practice area where you can set your own reading speed and other options which effectively lets you create custom lessons. The exercise section also was fun and teaches your brain to read words at very high speeds using the tachioscope system.

This program is designed to fit a variety of learning needs. Not everyone learns the same way, so Speed Reader-X includes options to repeat lessons until objectives are met. The practice page also allows you to set your own reading speed so you are not locked into the structured lessons.

 

Their website says for children with a 3rd grade reading level(which is 8 years old usually) to adult, but I am not so sure a 3rd grader could keep up with the instructions, at least not without a parent helping. The child reading material is much easier than the adult but in later lessons it is more difficult and I really think it is more suited to teens to adult unless a young child has really strong reading skills already.


As stated above, Speed Reader-X clearly dominates the speed reading trainer software category. The lesson objective video shown before each lesson provides a clear explanation of what you will learn with each lesson and what the goal is for the lesson. Objectives are broken down into clear and simple terms. As you progress, these skills are combined.

Speed Reader-X is rich in information that was not included with other packages. It had many suggestions and explanations that other speed reading software packages should have included. For example, no other package explained how character recognition viewing of words can be used to suppress sub-vocalization. This was a critical point in speed reading and must be understood. Without some of the advice from the lesson introductions, I would have been confused about what I was supposed to do when attempting the lessons. Fortunately, the video instructor and software makes everything very clear.


Ease of Installation:  
There was no problem installing Speed Reader-X. It is available on CD only, no download. It did not require any activation key or Internet activation. Simply install and run. You do have to keep the CD in the drive when using the program so it can load the videos.


Help/Support:  
I had to take away from the rating some here because only online support is offered, no telephone support. I know that is where the world is moving due to the expense of telephone support for companies, but it is always nice when a company does offer telephone support. The software has a Help section but the information you need is in the introduction video and shown before each lesson. The help area is more to answer questions you may still have after you have completed the lesson. It does also have a help video in the help section that explains yet more about speed reading. This makes it easy to go through quickly and to find information. Elite Minds Inc did a superb job; every lesson has an extensive explanation video with information.


I sent a support request using their trouble ticket system at noon Eastern Time with a simple question about using the software. Within 7 hours I had a reply which was polite and correct. Their support system also lets you login and view the result if you do not receive the email. My email confirmation was redirected to my spam folder by my mail program so this is a good thing to have for people who may miss the email response. They also provide a FAQ online. Speed Reader-X has a 90 day money back guarantee.

 

Not Rated:

There is an optional audio CD available which was not reviewed called the Gold Package. I did not order it with my purchase so I cannot comment on it.

Basics:  
Speed Reader-X effectively covers all key fundamentals to give speed reading students a solid foundation to learn speed reading. The system has been updated a number of times, now at versiojn 6.0, and the website says it is based on new research. The course does have information not included with any of the other products. This program covers all the fundamentals and more.


Version 6.0 Update: I have had several months to mull over the entire concept of speed reading and to practice. I have seen a personal improvement, but it has taken some effort. I was interested in reading a book on interpersonal communications just to pick up some tips but I did not have time to sit down and read it cover to cover. I thought it would be a great test for my developing speed reading skills. It turned out to be a very interesting experience. I found that my concentration was easily broken,there are a lot of distractions here, but when I could avoid distractions to focus and follow the techniques outlined in the software, I could achieve, what I would estimate to be, double or sometimes triple my normal reading speed. This will no doubt take more practice but I am most impressed at the entire concept of speed reading at this point.


Bonuses:

The package includes a free bonus DVD which contains 17,000 classic eBooks. These are from the Gutenberg Project and are in txt format so they can be used with the Speed Reader-X software or read using any standard eBook or text viewer. The free bonus is also sold by other companies under various names for around $30 which makes it an excellent bonus for a package based on reading.The eBook disk has all the favorites like Homer's Illiad and Shakespeare, but it also has thousands of other historic reference books and lots of classics I had never heard of before as well as some more modern sci-fi books and novels. It also includes many foreign language versions too. The bonus disk includes an eBook reader called the Parchment reader. It lets you select any of the 17,000 ebooks and read it on screen. You can also set bookmarks to return to where you stopped reading. The Parchment Reader makes the disk easy to use and it is easy to find books with the keyword search feature.


Summary:
Speed Reader-X is the best option available for you to learn speed reading. Don’t let the price tag fool you; this learning software blows away more expensive systems in both content and ease of use.


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See a side-by-side Comparison in the Speed Reading Software Review
 
Reader Reviews

 

 

READER REVIEWS showing 1 of 3 viewer reviews

#1 Speed Reader-X Submitted by IreadT00 of .. on April 12 2006

I agree with your review. I have not tried all ten but I have tried the top two, Speed Reader-X and EyeQ. It would have been a close call between your first and second if it were not for price. The price of Speed Reader-X makes it the easy choice on top of its other benefits. At only $29.95 it stands far out in front of #2. Speed Reader-X allows you to create a different account for every member of your family. This means all the kids and adults can keep track of their own progress and the software remembers which lesson they completed last. The functionality of Speed Reader-X and EyeQ is basically the same except that Speed Reader-X does not have the fluff. The manual for Speed Reader-X seems to be much more updated and has information I had not seen elsewhere. Installation was easy, you are correct, there was no annoying activation key. I hate those. The manual suggests one lesson per day but you are not limited to one per day and can progress at your own speed. The software works in a similar way to EyeQ by hilighting words and phrases however the structure seemed much more, well structured. The manual explains what you are supposed to learn or practice in a lesson, then it tells you what to do, then you do it in that lesson. The very first lesson really made me see what speed reading was all about. It was a simple training exercise where common phrases were hilighted. Once I finished this lesson I could really see how speed reading worked and how it was possible to read short phrases in a glance. This is the newest of all the software tested being released in 2005. They say that it uses new training methods and, although much of it is similar, I see a lot of new material that was not mentioned with other products. This new material was also very important in explaining how speed reading works. Some of the other products were unclear. Speed Reader X is divided into 10 progressively harder lessons. The manual has a new objective for every lesson which is clearly explained.

What I Liked. Some special options I liked was the ability to change the text. The software includes a public domain science fiction story. The manual says the story was chosen because it has no big words to trip up the reader. This is another example of why this software seems well thought out. You can change this story to any text. This brings me to the next BIG positive for this software, the free bonus. I loved the 9400 classics collection. It is like having a classics library on disk. The bonus was worth the purchase price to me. This was a much better free bonus than any offered with EyeQ. The software settings are also in a .ini file. You can change this file some. I found some changes made the software stop working but small changes seemed to work. For example, I changed some of the reading speed tests to be slower or faster without problems. I am not sure if they meant for people to play with this feature or not but it was fun to mess with the settings anyway. The manual was very much to-the-point. It had additional information on memory and study skills but I did not feel like it was padded out just to make the manual long. To the contrary, the manual seemed lean an trim. I was able to go through it quickly and felt like I actually got something from every sentence. No fluff here.

Disappointments. Some of the later lessons seemed really fast. I suppose you have to practice to gain the benefits of those. I only ran through them in one night so did not have an opportunity to practice as the manual recommended. The example story seems to end before the last lesson. I wanted to see how it turned out, fortunately the manual did have a link to the full story. There was no 'help' section in the software however the manual was quite thorough. This is a PC only program, no MAC version.

My final rating is 4 stars out of 4 or I guess you already gave it 4 boxes out of 4 which is good.

 

 

READER REVIEWS showing 2 of 3 viewer reviews

speed reader article Submitted by JJ of .. on Aug 3 2007

 

There is also a great article that explains speed reading on the speed reader site at speedreaderx.com/article1.htm I think your readers would be very interested in that article too .

 

 

READER REVIEWS showing 3 of 3 viewer reviews

dubious Submitted by modwarz99 of .. on Aug 5 2007

 

I have to say that I was dubious about your review and speed reading in general even after seeing an infomercial about it. I then checked some more reviews including amazon for speed reader x and saw a lot of people really like it. the price was good too so I tried it. I now understand your enthusiasm. I am retired and that gives me some extra time but there is still never enough time to read a book. Now I look at it as a challenge and an excuse to practice speed reading. I cant say it has been coasting down hill but I dont think it is as difficult as learning a foreign language either. I have been sreious about it and put some effort into it and my speed has gone from 200 words to 600 words. Sometimes I have to read things twice still but I think I can do better with more practice..



 
 
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