It s almost midnight and you still have three long chapters to read from your chemistry book by 8:30 tomorrow morning. Can you do it and still get a good night s sleep? If you know your reading speed, you can estimate how long it will take right? Yes, but there are strings attached. You might be able to read at your normal rate, but will it do you any good if you don t remember what you read? Reading speeds and more importantly, reading comprehension can fluctuate widely depending on different factors.

Concentrating on what you re reading is just as important, if not more so, than how fast you re reading. According to Martha Brockenbrough, author of The Fastest Readers in History, the champion of the 2005 Mind Sports Olympiad read 1,538 words per minute, but could only comprehend 56.7 percent of what she read. On the other hand, the third place winner read 545 words per minute, yet achieved 83 percent comprehension.

If you re tired and not in the mood to read, your reading speed will be below normal. You have to be relaxed and ready to concentrate to read at faster speeds and maintain a good level of comprehension. Otherwise, you re just going through the motions.

Reading speed is also affected if you re not interested in what you re reading; your mind may wander or you may start to feel drowsy and as a result, your reading speed will go down, but your reading comprehension will also go down to such a low level that you might as well start over.

For students who excel in chemistry, reading those three chapters will be a breeze, but if you re an average or even above average chemistry student, your reading speed will be reduced so you can absorb the information that you re reading. Therefore, your reading speed might be reduced to a level where you won t finish reading and get a good night s sleep. So put on a pot of coffee and get ready for a long night.

Most speed reading experts agree that the reading speed for the average reader is 250-350 words per minute. To determine your reading speed, use the following calculation from the TurboRead Speed Reading website:

  • Count the number of words on three consecutive full lines of print. (For example, 33 words on three lines)
  • Divide this by 3 to give average words per line. (For example, 11 words per line)
  • Count the number of lines of print down the left hand side of the page. (For example, 40 lines of print)
  • Multiply the number of lines of print by the average words per line. (For example, 40 x 11 = 440 words per page)
  • Count the number of pages read in a known time period (For example, 6 pages)
  • Multiple the number of pages read by the words per page. The result is total words read. (For example 6 x 440 = 2640 words)
  • Divide the total words read by the time it took you to read them. (For example, 2640)

More Top Stories