Saturday, March 17, 2012

How Fast Do You Read?

I have been seeing this all around the blogosphere for the last couple of days and most recently at The True Book Addict. Staples has put up a speed-reading test to let you see how fast you read. Because I am a quietly competitive person, I had to see how I did. I was surprised at my results.

You read 395 words per minute.
That makes you 58% faster than the national average.

According to them I could read War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy in 24 hours and 47 minutes (but I doubt it because I really don't want to read Tolstoy).

I tried it a second time and this time got an excerpt from Alice in Wonderland.

You read 456 words per minute.
That makes you 82% faster than the national average.

I found the timeline chart interesting and wonder where they get their data. My  first speed puts me in the same range has high school 11th graders and my second in the same range as average college students. According to the chart college professors read about 680 words a minute and high-scoring college students read about 800 words per minute. 

They also say that I could read 5.2 books on my Kindle before I would have to recharge it. I find that I need to recharge mine more frequently than that partially, I suppose, because it is on right now but I am blogging not reading.

Here. Check it out for yourself.
Do you think this is an accurate representation of your reading speed? I find that my speed varies greatly depending on what it is I am reading. Sometimes I do a lot of skimming and other times I really slow down to either savor or just comprehend what I am reading.

I don't really think that my speed is different when I am reading print versus ebooks though. Off hand, I can't think of a way to really test it. Reading the same book on each platform wouldn't really work because the second time I read it whether in print or digitally would be such a different experience than the first time I read it. Either I would be slowing down to savor the language or skimming because I already knew the story.

What do you think? Does reading speed really matter? Shouldn't we be more concerned with enjoyment rather than speed when we talk about reading?


  1. Very interesting. To think my brain or ability to read fast has dipped. Very sad. I am not sure this is a good representation. I agree that it depends on the book. I tend to reread my favorite parts before moving on. And in really descriptive books I tend to skim a bit. I can't imagine reading 4700 wpm like the speed reading champion. Does that person actually enjoy reading? Think how many books you could read at that rate. I do think that it is close to accurate. I figure I could read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in about three hours.

  2. I know I can read a 200 pg book in 2 hours and I've been like that all my adult life. I read about 50 books per month which is almost 2 books per day and so many books are shorter these days that it's easy for me to do so. Now a few years ago when I read Acheron..that's a big book, it took me most of the day to read in between cooking, cleaning, washing dishes, playing with my rats...ect..but I was glad I read as fast asI do when I get a huge book like that to read.

  3. This is really interesting. I have always known I'm a slow reader and this test surprised me a little. I got 295 words a minute. I do feel that it also has a lot to do with my interest in a book as if I find a book boring it takes me longer to get through.

  4. An interesting little test! I read on average about 100 pages an hour.
    According to that little test I read 601 words a minute (140% higher than the national average.
    Not bad!

    Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out

  5. I read faster or slower depending on the format of the book I read. I read faster on paper and slower on screens.


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