Reading can be a wonderful hobby that enriches our minds and lives. However, there are instances when reading a passage can be difficult for some, especially when the material presented is hard to process or the person has language processing difficulties.
Whatever the case, reading is a skill that does improve over time. However, even avid readers can need help understanding difficult material, especially in this fast-paced world.
Nowadays, one of the most popular ways to help improve one’s “reading slump” is through Bionic Reading. Here’s what you need to know about the latter.
What is Bionic Reading?
Bionic reading is the latest innovative method that has been raved about by countless TikTok and Twitter users. The owner, Renato Casutt, is a Swiss typographic designer who claims that this method is a way that combines biology and technology to make reading easier and more convenient.
Bionic Reading centers around the idea that humans only need a few letters to understand the word they are reading. Much like how we only need the first and last letter of a word in its correct placement to read it, Bionic Reading uses cues that will guide the eyes and allow the brain to complete the rest of the words.
How Does Bionic Reading Work?
Through its software, Bionic Reading helps facilitate the reading process by guiding the reader’s eyes through text with artificial fixation points. This careful placement of points allows the reader to focus on the highlighted initial letters while letting the brain center complete the world.
Bionic reading was developed to encourage users to establish in-depth reading and understand written content without straying their focus. This goal is beneficial in a relatively fast-paced and technology-driven world.
In a nutshell, Bionic Reading looks like this, although it can be customized to suit your needs.
Why is Bionic Reading Popular?
The reason why Bionic Reading has made waves is because of word-of-mouth. Many users, particularly neurodivergent readers who have conditions like ADHD, find the Bionic Reading app to be a lifesaver.
Even neurotypical readers, who still struggle with focusing on reading, find the app and software incredibly useful, especially if they need to read something for school or work. By guiding the reader’s eyes, reducing distractions, and providing fixation points, readers can be “trained” to focus on one word at a time, allowing them to understand the passage they’re reading one word at a time.
Another reason why the method has become so popular is because of its customizable features. Unlike non-technical ways that may not apply to everyone, Bionic Reading considers the person’s reading speed and vocabulary wealth.
By adjusting its fixation settings and points, the software carefully highlights certain letters in each word in bold, categorizing each word into short, medium-sized, and long words. This careful categorization helps readers develop a consistent flow in reading with little to no struggle.
Some Bionic Reading Criticisms:
While Bionic Reading has gained some online praise from many users, the method has garnered some criticisms—particularly in their claims on their website and other platforms. On Twitter, Cassutt provided a series of tweets that explained his small study, purported to support the method’s claims with a “positive effect” for some.
In these tweets, Cassutt said he had done a small preliminary study in Switzerland with twelve participants. Considering that this sample size is very minimal, it leaves some room for doubt on the validity of the method’s claims.
Cassutt also does not explain in detail what the “positive effect” of the study entailed, making it ambiguous, which shouldn’t be the case for scientific research.
Another criticism of Bionic Reading is that it’s still undergoing development. While some neurodivergent readers claimed that the method helped them improve their focus on reading, there has yet to be an official study or experiment of the method’s effectiveness towards dyslexic readers.
The method’s claim that the “brain reads faster than the eye” has also been debunked or criticized. Although, one educational psychologist suspects it might reference “sight words,” which are everyday words that readers instantly recognize. While sight words can help readers identify patterns, increasing reading speed, a person’s brain still needs to do some work to help turn a series of letters into words and add meaning to said words.
The founder claiming that the brain reads faster than the eye can be misleading, especially since language processing varies from person to person.
In short, experts claim that if you’re looking for tried-and-true methods to improve your reading focus, consider reading slowly or following along the words in text using your finger or mouse.
Should I Avoid Using a Bionic Reading App?
Reading is a very personal experience that varies from person to person. Since most reading requires language processing, highlighting a few letters within words may not lead to a person developing higher reading comprehension skills.
However, there are some appeals to getting the app or browser extension. For instance, fixation points can help guide the reader’s eyes, making tackling words one step at a time easier.
Additionally, the Bionic Reading software is completely customizable, so if you need more help than the average reader, you can adjust the settings that best cater to your needs.
Some Final Thoughts:
Overall, there is no clear answer on whether you should get the software because it depends on your preference. However, it doesn’t hurt to try. If your reading experience improves, then the Bionic Reader is a worthwhile method.
Nevertheless, keeping an open mind is helpful since, despite claims and hype, the Bionic Reading method is still relatively new.
Whether you prefer to try the method or not, it’s important to note that reading is a deeply personal experience and varies from person to person. Regardless of your reading comprehension level, possible language processing condition, or difficulties with focus, there are several methods that make reading enjoyable without necessarily increasing your speed.
If you’re a parent with a child who finds reading or processing words challenging, it’s best to consult a medical expert.
You can reach more about Bionic Reading and its available apps and information on its official website here.