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Spreeder: Speed-Reading Web Site


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Activity Description

Have students use this free online speed reading site to increase their reading speed, fluency, and accuracy while reading single words or chunks, choosing word per minute to be displayed, using texts you or students have chosen.


  1. Make sure that the Web site is not blocked at your school before using it with your students. Practice using the site yourself.
  2. Select a text you would like students to use and determine how you will make it available to them (for example, on a handout that they copy by typing in to the site's text box, on a document that they copy and paste, on a Web site, etc.).
  3. Determine the words per minute you would like students to practice (the average adult reading rate is 200 words per minute) and whether you would like them to practice chunking words or reading single words.
  4. Practice changing the settings so that you will be able to show students how to do it.
  5. If you plan to use this Web site repeatedly with students, you may decide to create a reading rate progress chart on which they can record their progress (increases in words per minute).


  1. Go to the Example Web Site (above). (You may have to scroll down the page a little to see the complete block of text.
  2. Introduce speed reading, what it is and why it's important to build your ability to read more quickly for some types of reading. Select the Spreed! button to show students how Spreeder works.
  3. Locate the play console and select the play button.
  4. Read the words aloud or silently. Note: The default settings for the text are that they will be displayed word by word and at a 300 words-per-minute reading speed. To change the settings, select Settings on the play console, make your desired changes and then select the Save link. The settings which can be altered, include the following: words per minute, chunk size (how many words displayed at once), window width and height, font size and color. Advanced options include speed variability, pausing at ends of sentences and paragraphs, and others. Be sure to Save after changing options.
  5. To have students use a text you or they have chosen:
    • Select New on the play console.
    • Locate and highlight (select) the text in the text source. Use the [Ctrl] + [C] keys on your keyboard to copy the text from it's source. Now paste it into the Spreeder text box by clicking in the box and pressing the control key and the V keys ([Ctrl] + [V]) at the same time.
    • Select the Spreed! button
    • Change any options in the Settings and Save them.
    • Press the play button.
    • Read the words aloud or silently. (Silent reading is prefered to truly build speed.)
    • Repeat to build reading speed and/or change the options to a faster reading speed for a challenge.

Teacher Tips

This Web site could even be used with low-level ESL students by using simple vocabulary you are teaching and setting the rates at slower speeds with the purpose of building word recognition and moving up to sentence reading.

More Ways

  • You can have students use this Web site periodically in class or assign for homework and ask them to record their reading speeds each time, charting their progress.
  • The site does not include reading comprehension questions, but creating follow-up questions to a text you assign students to use with the site would be a good addition. For example, for intermediate and advanced students, you could have students paste in a text you have chosen, have them set the reading rate at 200 words per minute, "spreed" read once, answer as many questions as they can, and repeat to try to increase their reading comprehension and recall.
  • According to the Web site, the average reading speed for adults is 200 words per minute.
  • The site provides this suggestion for using the tools to improve reading speed:
"To train to read faster, first find your base rate -- the speed that you can read a passage of text with full comprehension. We have defaulted to 300 wpm, showing one word at a time, which is about the average that works best for our users. Now, read that passage using spreeder at that base rate. After you have finished, double that speed by going to the Settings and changing the Words Per Minute value. Reread the passage. You should not expect to understand everything - in fact, more likely than not you will only catch a couple words here and there. If you have high comprehension, that probably means that you need to set your base rate higher and rerun this test again. You should be straining to keep up with the speed of the words flashing by. This speed should be faster than your inner voice can "read." Now, reread the passage again at your base rate. It should feel a lot slower (if not, try running the speed test again). Now try moving up to a little past your base rate (for example, 400 wpm), and see how much you can comprehend at that speed."

Program Areas

  • ESL: English as a Second Language


  • Beginning Literacy
  • Beginning Low
  • Beginning High
  • Intermediate Low
  • Intermediate High
  • Advanced
  • All Levels


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OTAN activities are funded by contract CN220124 from the Adult Education Office, in the Career & College Transition Division, California Department of Education, with funds provided through Federal P.L., 105-220, Section 223. However, OTAN content does not necessarily reflect the position of that department or the U.S. Department of Education.