Before you can begin to focus on speed reading or substantially increasing your reading speed, it’s important that you know how fast you read right now. This lesson will help you determine how quickly you currently read so as you go through the other lessons, you can be clear on what you need to work on and what skills you already have.
There are several ways you can establish how quickly you currently read. When you discover your current reading speed, be sure to record it because as we go through the lessons we might periodically ask you to record your reading speed again. At the end of the course, you will give yourself another reading test to see how quickly you’re reading once you have implemented all of the speed reading strategies we provide.
To discover your current reading speed, you have two primary options:
- The lowest tech way of testing your reading speed is to break out the timer, find some reading material, and time yourself while you read a specific passage of the material. Do not count the words ahead of time, because as you count you might likely also read, which will naturally increase your reading speed when you begin the task.
Instead, read a passage as quickly as you can. In order to get an accurate reading, pick a passage that you believe is at least 300 to 600 words, or roughly 3 to 6 paragraphs. It shouldn’t be something you have read before. Start the timer and read the passage. When you’re done, turn off the timer and make note of how long it took you to read the passage, and then count the number of words in the passage.
- A better and likely faster way to test your reading speed is to do an online test. There are many online reading tests available, and you can find them through a simple internet search. These tests will give you a block of text to read and will time you as you read the text. You will click on a button when you begin reading and click on a button when you finish reading, and the reading test website will do the word count for you.
Because some kinds of reading might be easier for you than others, it might be helpful to do more than one reading test online. One passage might be an easy read for you, while something that is more technical, might be a bit harder. In order to get a fairly accurate accounting of your current reading speed, it’s helpful to do a test more than once.
Once you know at what rate you’re currently reading, you should be able to take this information with you as you move through the lessons in this course. If you already read at a fairly good clip, you might have less work to do than someone who is a naturally slower reader.
The average reader reads about 200 words per minute, although children usually read between 100 and 200 words per minute. Research shows that few of us increase our reading speed after the age of 12, so once we read at 200 words per minute, rarely does our reading speed increase much. If you already read more than 200 words per minute you’re well on your way to being a speed reader, but there are still many things you can do to increase your reading speed.