I’m sure we all wish we could read a little bit faster, right? That way we could finish books quicker and spend less time straining our eyes. But upping the pace at which your mind processes words is no easy task — especially if you're one to get distracted easily.
Well, there may be an easy way to increase your reading speed. Across social media, an image of a short paragraph is making the rounds. But get this: The first couple of letters in each word are bolded. While this sounds like it could complicate reading, it’s apparently helping some folks read faster. Keep reading as we discuss Bionic Reading.
What is Bionic Reading?
Examine the image in the tweet below. How quickly can you read through that paragraph? If you feel like you breezed through that much quicker than you normally would, you're not alone. People have been praising the way this paragraph was printed.
The paragraph originally appeared in a normal typeface as the words do in this article. But when run through an app called Bionic Reading, certain edits were made to the text's appearance which may significantly increase the speed at which someone reads through it.
According to the app description, "Bionic Reading revises texts so that the most concise parts of words are highlighted. This guides the eye over the text and the brain remembers previously learned words more quickly."
The app is currently free and there is also a Bionic Reading Google Chrome extension that can be installed on your web browser.
Now you may have noticed the beginning of the paragraph reads "Attention neurodivergent community." Given that detail, it appears that Bionic Reading is being marketed toward people who are neurodivergent. Per Verywell Mind, "neurodivergence is the term for when someone's brain processes, learns, and/or behaves differently from what is considered 'typical.'"
People who have autism, ADHD, dyslexia, and other conditions that may impact their brain functions are considered neurodivergent.
However, despite this note, both neurodivergent and neurotypical folks claim to have seen success with Bionic Reading.
On TikTok, folks are applauding Bionic Reading, too.
Not everyone agrees that Bionic Reading is helpful.
Not everyone is finding this method of reading helpful. On Twitter, one user claimed it was "distracting." Another person who claimed to have ADHD said the type font hurt their eyes.
Interestingly, TikTok creator @dyslexia_tutor pointed out that Bionic Reading actually doesn't have any science-backed research proving that it works. She also noted that on the Bionic Reading website, normal font patterns are used, which seems counterintuitive to its mission.
While the research surrounding Bionic Reading is pretty scarce, Readwise ran its own little experiment that timed people reading with and without Bionic Reading. The results showed that participants actually read 2.6 words per minute slower on average with Bionic Reading than without.
Yet, Bionic Reading still has a strong and confident fanbase.
Creator @catieosaurus even noted in a video that people who found Bionic Reading helpful and those who didn't were dividing themselves over who was right.
But as she explained, neoudivergency "encompasses a huge range of challenges and disorders," beyond autism, ADHD, and dyslexia.
"It's entirely possible that something that really helps one neurodivergent person may hinder another," she said, adding that the neurodivergent community shouldn't be thought of as monolithic.
Bottom line: Everyone's brain works differently and if Bionic Reading is as helpful as people say, we're sure that more researchers will look into this soon.