Recently, my Facebook friend posted an article on her wall. Captivated by its claim to let readers read books in less than 90 minutes, I proceeded to read the article. Upon scientific discoveries, app designers are working on an app which recognizes the “Optimal Recognition Point” (“ORP”) of each word. This ORP enables readers to quickly recognize a word without fully reading a word from left to right, like you and I are doing now. As individuals become more skilled with recognizing the ORP, readers can have the opportunity to increase the speed at which they look at these ORPs thus enabling them to “read” at rapid paces. I highly encourage you to click the hyperlink and examine this technology!
I was intrigued. How cool would it be to read books in less than 90 minutes?! Think about how quickly we could cut back our TBR piles.
However, as I further studied these ORPs and looked at the article’s different examples, I found that this new technology may do more of a disservice to readers. As someone who is studying English and Secondary Education, my courses heavily emphasize teaching kids how to critically read; this skill is especially emphasized in the newest standard of education, Common Core. As I participated in the ORP activities, I found pressured (frantic, actually) to recognize these words. If these ORPs were implemented in a classroom, I have in inclination that students would also feel similar feelings. Simply, students are being discouraged to read critically because the emphasis is on speed and ability to quickly recognize words. As someone who loves to find authors’ deeper meanings in texts, I am appalled by this new technology.
Unfortunately, I think this technology coincides with our society’s motto that “bigger and faster is better!” I am not against efficiency, but I think the creators of these apps don’t fully understand or appreciate what reading offers those of us bibliophiles. Therefore, I’m hesitant with these ORP discoveries and the ways they may impact our reading.
What do you think?