Several studies describe the amount of time spent reading at work. Usually it is around 2 hours a day or about 24% of the time at work. Improving your reading speed can boost productivity.
What you measure improves, what you focus on increases. Before trying to improve your reading speed, it makes sense to measure your initial speed first. Most people can’t even try to guess how fast they read, while others estimate too slow a speed similar to typing speed, such as 80 or 90 words per minute (wpm).
Here’s an easy way to calculate your rate using your own reading material. While there are online reading tests, they usually give you a result without you being able to monitor and measure your reading rate at any time on any type of reading material.
What you will need
– Book – Soft cover or hard cover book (to facilitate the calculation). Make sure it’s easy to read fiction or non-fiction.
– Timer – countdown timer, stopwatch, clock or clock with second hands.
– Pocket calculator
– Two paper clips or sticky notes or a pencil to mark start and end points
1. Identify the starting point
Ignore any preface, foreword, or introduction and start at Chapter One of the book. Attach a paper clip, sticky note, or pencil mark to indicate your starting point.
2. Read for 3 minutes.
When you are ready, start the stopwatch and start reading for 3 minutes for good comprehension, that is, for excellent comprehension and enjoyment. After 3 minutes stop reading and place a pencil mark or paperclip or sticky note to indicate your ending point.
3. Review the withdrawal
To check your memory, turn the book upside down and take 30 seconds to write a few notes about what you can remember. Better yet, arrange to take this reading test with a friend or colleague and exchange a 30-second summary.
Decide if your summary was:
– Very well
– Down by
4. Calculate the reading rate
Now calculate your reading rate in words per minute. To do this, count the total words read and then divide by the number of minutes spent reading, following the steps below:
a) Count words per line
To calculate the average number of words per line, count the total of words on three lines and divide by three. (A word must have two letters to count). The typical output for a paperback is around 10 words per line. In hardcover they are 12 to 13 words per line.
b) Count the number of lines read
Then count the total number of lines you read. (Two half lines count as one line).
c) Calculate the total number of words read
For the total words read, multiply the number of lines by the number of words per line.
d) Words per minute
Divide the total words read by the number of minutes spent reading.
This is the formula:
___ Lines X Words per line = _____ Total words ÷ 3 = _____ WPM
– If your reading rate is between 200 and 300 words per minute, that’s an average reading rate. Most people read at this rate.
– If your reading rate is less than 200 words per minute, did you choose technical reading material with a high degree of difficulty? This can slow down your reading speed. Or do you frequently read technical or scientific material at a slow pace, so that everything you read at the same pace?
– If your reading rate is higher than 400 words per minute, it indicates that you are not as affected by bad reading habits, such as subvocalization (hearing every word in your head while reading) or regression (the eye goes back to read again a word). ; most readers go back 50 or 60 times per page) or fixation (reading one word at a time with limited focus).
– If your reading rate is higher than 1000 words per minute, congratulations; that’s a great result. If you also rated your comprehension and memory from excellent to very good, then you are a fast reader.
Now that you know your current reading speed, the next step is to learn to read faster.