Magazine article Technology & Learning

Word by Word: RSVP Technology Can Transform the Reading Experience

Magazine article Technology & Learning

Word by Word: RSVP Technology Can Transform the Reading Experience

Article excerpt

There are often a few students in a classroom who struggle with reading. Whether they are reluctant to read because it is difficult or because they might have a visual or physical disability, students may find rapid serial visual presentation a technique that can help.

The basic idea behind the RSVP method is to display text briefly, in sequential order, using a small amount of space. With RSVP software, sentences are broken down into single words or small chunks that flash on the screen at a user-determined rate. Since the eyes don't have to move back and forth, and you can't dawdle or unconsciously go back, with practice, readers can increase their speed and efficiency.

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RSVP can be more than a classroom exercise, however, thanks to the explosion of Web sites, online encyclopedias, and e-books providing academic materials in electronic form. In fact, its availability across a range of media and devices may be helpful for students who have dyslexia, attention problems, and visual or physical disabilities.

For example, reading is often hindered by subvocalization, or mentally pronouncing words while reading silently. Mental mispronunciation may also lead to comprehension errors. When words are presented very quickly, there isn't enough time to subvocalize. Most RSVP programs allow for gradual increases in the number of words displayed per minute, up to four or more times the standard adult rate of 250 wpm.

Computer-paced, serial presentation allows students to practice focusing attention for short periods of time. …

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