Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 53 / OCTOBER 1984 / PAGE 162

Atari Speed-Reading

Clark Morrow

Everybody knows that the Atari plays great arcade games, but can it improve your reading skills? This program will turn your Atari into a private speed-reading tutor.

"Speed-Reading" is an enjoyable and effective way to increase your reading speed. This program flashes phrases on the screen at your choice of four speeds.

While the phrases flash on the center of the screen, keep your eyes focused in the middle to avoid reading from left to right.

At first, a menu is displayed. You can then select the speed by pressing OPTION and the line length by pressing SELECT. Pushing START runs the program. You can return to the menu by holding down the OPTION button.

Start with short lines and medium speed. As your speed increases, try the longer lines, but remember to keep your eyes on the center of the screen.


There are several interesting POKE and PEEK statements in the program. One that is particularly useful is POKE 752,1. This POKE will turn the cursor off. To test if either the START, SELECT, or OPTION key is pressed, a PEEK(53279) is executed. A result of 7 means that no key is being pressed, 6 that START is pressed, 5 that SELECT is pressed, and 3 that OPTION is being pressed. POKEs to locations 84 and 85 position the cursor horizontally and vertically in the graphics window.

Creating More Data

By removing the first REM in line 670, the program will randomly select a line number that is greater than or equal to 2100 and is a multiple of 100. It will then read data until it reaches a /END. When a /END is encountered, this process is repeated.

To add more data, change the 5 in line 670 to reflect the total number of lines (beginning with a multiple of 100). If the first REM in line 670 is removed, the beginning line number of each group of words must be divisible by 100 and be 100 greater than the previous group. However, any lines between the beginning line number and the /END may have any statement number. When typing more data, place a comma after every two words. At the end of each group of words, type two commas as a delay then type /END.