Staples has a very interesting speed reading test posted on their website, which not only will tell you how many words you can read in a minute, but also tells you how you compare to the national average and the world’s best speed readers (among other things).
I find it puzzling that the timeline shows that the “average adult” can read 300 words per minute (wpm), but the average speed reader can read 1500 wpm. Interestingly enough, college professors, college students, and even high level executives can apparently read almost (or more than) twice the national average for your regular adult. Twice the speed seems remarkably high to me. Is it that there are just simply so many “average adults” who do not read at all if they can help it? If so, this makes me sad.
You can click here to take the test yourself, if you’d like to. For the record, they call it an “e-reader test”. I’m not certain what the difference between this and your traditional book is supposed to be, or exactly what they’re trying to get out of calling it such — except, possibly, additional e-reader sales out of some misguided “proof” that people can read faster digitally?? You’ll have to decide that for yourself.
In the interest of disclosure, I took the test twice. The first time I scored 422 wpm, which is 69% faster than the national average. After reading the page it gives you, they ask you 3 questions to test your comprehension. I missed one of the questions my first time through, and I was afraid that I had skimmed despite trying not to, so I took it again. The second time, I was given a different page but recognized it as being from Alice in Wonderland, and scored slightly faster at 74% above the national average or 434 wpm.
Feel free to take the test and post your scores here. I’d love to know how I measure up against a group of real readers. 🙂