Read Faster with speed reading bookmarklet Squirt

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 25, 2014

If you could read twice as fast, you would only spend half the time reading. Speed reading is an interesting concept, one that works well to a certain degree and up to a point.

Depending on the complexity of the reading material, you may be able to speed things up even more than that or less. A complex scientific study for instance may require you to not only read but also think about what is being said, while a novel may not so much.

Generally speaking, most humans are capable of improving their reading speed up to a certain level with little to no training.

Speed reading applications such as Spreed for Chrome, ReadPal, or Windows Speed Reader help achieve that goal in various ways.

Read Faster with Squirt

Squirt is a bookmarklet that you can use in every modern browser. It is best placed on the bookmarks bar of the browser for fast access, but can be placed in the bookmarks as well if you are not using the toolbar in your browser.

If you are using the bookmarks bar, you will have to drag and drop the big squirt button to it so that it becomes attached to it.

If you prefer to bookmark, you right-click and select to bookmark this link (Firefox and Internet Explorer), or  select copy link address (Chrome and Opera), open the bookmarks manager and add a new bookmark using the copied link text as the url.

Using the app

To use the speed reading bookmarklet, all you have to do is click on the bookmarklet to start. If you highlight text before you do so, only that text will be used by the application.

squirt speed reading

The interface displays one word at a time using the words per minute count on the right. You can increase or decrease the speed with a click on the up or down arrow buttons here.

The default setting of 400 words per minute may be too fast for some users. It is suggested to slow down the speed until you are comfortable with the pace the words are displayed to you.

Once you get accustomed to that speed level, you can increase the count to read faster.

Instead of using the mouse to control the words per minute speed, pause, play or back, you can also use keyboard shortcuts to achieve the same thing.

The up and down arrow buttons increase and decrease the words per minute, space pauses or continues playback, and left goes back a word.

Closing Words

What I like about the bookmarklet is that it works well with readability extensions or bookmarklets, and that it gives you full control over the process.

The one issue that you may run into is that it does not remember custom wpm settings but always reverts back to 400 wpm whenever you invoke its functionality.

That's somewhat of a problem for readers who prefer a slower words per minute reading speed as words start to be displayed the second the interface is loaded. You may have to slow down the speed and go back to the beginning then to start over.

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  1. Dwight Stegall said on March 26, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    It’s pretty good but it still has a few kinks. It read part of your cascading style sheet. :)

    If someone uses —————— or ================= as page dividers it will also read them.

  2. Ray said on March 26, 2014 at 4:42 am

    Tried Squirt on this page and it was showing some CSS code in between paragraphs! :)

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on March 26, 2014 at 7:51 am

      Try Readability bookmarklet first, and then Squirt.

  3. Silat said on March 26, 2014 at 12:43 am

    Cannot access the site for squirt.

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