It wasn’t long ago that I found a service called Spreeder that promised to double text skimming speed by eliminating your subvocalization, or inner reading voice. It seemed like a pretty underground idea at the time, so I’m both surprised and thrilled to see a legitimate-seeming startup attempt to perfect the idea.

Readfa.st takes the idea of Spreeder, but improves on it with a paginated interface that gives you the sense of moving through a page of text, rather than watching word after word whiz by your face with no sense of how much has passed, or when new paragraphs begin. Readfa.st basically greys out an entire page of text except for a string of five or six words that you focus on. As it snakes through the paragraphs, you’ll find that you can follow along at much faster speeds than you might expect. In my experience with both, I feel I retain more of the information with readfa.st’s approach. 

The service starts you off with a simple exercise to determine your baseline reading speed, and you can take more once you’re done to refine your tastes. Once you get into the service, you’ll find the usual assortment of badges and sharing features, a news feed and friends list to find content, and a handy bookmarklet to import web articles. 

Unfortunately, it seems the bookmarklet is the only way to import an article at this time, but hopefully they’ll allow file uploads or copy/pasted text in the future for some added flexibility. UPDATE: Copy/Paste functionality is available here. My bad.

Still though, if you’re anything like me and spend far too much time reading web articles each day, readfa.st could shave a valuable few minutes off your routine.  

[Via CollegeCandy]