How To Accurately Measure Your Reading Speed
The first step you must take to accurately measure your reading speed is to first understand that most of the reading material you encounter will generally fall into three content categories:
- Easy reading material
- Medium-level reading material
- Difficult reading material
If you want to accurately measure your reading speed, you should do so for all three ranges of difficulty that you read (easy, medium & difficult). Doing so will give you a “reading range” which provides a more accurate assessment of your reading speed. For example, you may read at 300 words per minute (wpm) through easy material, 200 wpm through medium-level material and 100 wpm through difficult material.
What if you could be 50% faster? How much more of this material could you get through on a daily basis, and how much more free time would you have?
What Kind Of Reading Material Should You Use?
You want to start by measuring your reading speed with medium-level material. This is probably the material you read most often as part of your daily reading routine. This can include general news, blog posts, magazine content (Perfect Examples: Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur Magazine, New York Times, or The Economist). Best seller fiction and non-fiction would also fall in this category.
To measure your reading speed, you simply read for one minute and count how many words you read in that one minute. This is your “words per minute” (wpm) reading speed.
If you would rather not count each and every single word, you can approximate your reading speed by counting the number of lines you read and multiplying that by the average number of words per line.
After measuring your reading speed in medium-level material, you will want to measure it again in easy material. Easy content would be considered light fiction or nonfiction, general news, comics, children’s books, and anything else that seems like simple reading to you. Typically, this type of material will be read at a faster pace than the medium-level content. Measure your reading speed again in this type of material.
Now that you have figured out your reading speed in medium-level and easy material, you will want to figure out your reading speed in more difficult reading. Doing so will provide you with a better analysis of your reading speed across different types of material.
Difficult reading would be considered dense, technical material. Philosophy, the sciences, textbooks, work material, as well as industry, trade, or academic journals can all be considered as such. This would also include the material that is the most time consuming and requires the most concentration on your part as a reader. This may also end up encompassing the majority of what you read for school or at work.
Measure your reading speed for this difficult material. Now that you have done so, you can be confident that you have measured your reading speed in the most general way across all types of reading that you may do.
These three reading speeds are now your personal benchmarks that we want you to improve upon. It does not matter how low or how high they are. All that matters is your improvement.
Before proceeding to the next tip, make sure that you measure your reading speed in easy, medium, and difficult material. Take note of your results so you can accurately measure your future progress.
Paul is the founder of Iris Reading, the largest provider of speed-reading courses in North America. His workshops have been taught to thousands of students and professionals throughout the U.S. and Canada.