A few days ago, I was looking for a resource to determine how fast professionals should read. Going in, I knew that the average college student was said to read at 300 words per minute, but I was told that the average adult reading speed was lower.
During my search, I came across a 2012 article by Brett Nelson on Forbes. I read the article and I was amazed. Look at this snippet:
According to a speed-reading test sponsored by Staples as part of an e-book promotion (brilliant marketing, by the way), here are the typical speeds at which humans read, and in theory comprehend, at various stages of educational development:
- Third-grade students = 150 words per minute (wpm)
- Eight grade students = 250
- Average college student = 450
- Average “high level exec” = 575
- Average college professor = 675
- Speed readers = 1,500
- World speed reading champion = 4,700
- Average adult: 300 wpm
To put those rates in meaningful context, I applied them to the kind of serious reading regimen favored by the super-successful set.
Wow. So, it looks like the averages went up all around. But, are eighth- and third-grade students that fast?
How Fast Do I Read?
A few years ago, I took a reading speed test of sorts as part of a course. It was difficult, and I know that I just didn’t make the cut (for college students or the adult average). I forgot the number, but I didn’t even crack 200 wpm at the time.
So, I went to the Staples website to do their reading test. And guess what? I was estimated to be able to read 219 words per minute! (I even got all the questions right!) I’m not at 300 wpm, but I made a vast improvement.
Is this number right?
Well, I certainly hope so. In some ways, I can see improvements in my reading speed and it’s all because of the choices I made and assignments I’ve had.
For one thing, I have done a lot more general reading and writing this year than I have in years past. From my freelance work, I had to do more research than I’ve ever done before. My featured posts have certainly helped me in this regard.
Also, I am learning more and more about SEO. There is so much to learn about search engine optimization to make anyone’s head spin. So, there is a lot to read about on that subject.
This has been the most productive year I’ve had in terms of blogging. I was able to push myself to write longer posts and to format them in a better way.
Now, I know I need to read even more. This will help me to become a better writer, to get facts straight, and to really make a living from writing. And from what I read from Brett Nelson’s article, a faster reading speed will help me save time and use my free time more productively.
What’s Your Reading Speed?
You don’t necessarily have to tell me your results if you don’t want to. But why don’t you give this test a try?