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Using Written Resources

Using Libraries

Using Libraries in Person

Reading Skills

Different Methods of Reading

Researching and Writing Assignments

Note Taking

Writing a Research Report








The Learning Game

Finding Out Your Reading Speed

  • Choose a piece of light reading, such as a novel and time yourself to read for 2 minutes.
  • Read at your normal reading pace for understanding.

 Do this exercise now before going on to establish your reading speed.

  • Count the number of words that you managed to complete within two minutes.
  • Don't count every word.
  • Count the words in about ten lines to find out the average word length per line. Then count how many lines per page.
  • Multiply the average words per line by the number of lines you read in two minutes = the average number of words you read.
  • Don't forget to divide by 2 to get the words per minute.

For different kinds of text most readers usually read at these speeds:

 Easy, familiar material

100 - 250 words per minute

 Moderately difficult to which you want to pay close attention

 70 words per minute

 Difficult material which you want to understand in depth

 40 words per minute

If you think that your reading needs to be improved you will need to practice reading faster. The only way is to concentrate on reading faster by making a conscious effort and to do it often enough. The more you do it the better you will get at it.

A few common faults are:

  • the habit of reading slowly
  • skipping back over words already covered
  • letting the eyes wander randomly over the page
  • sub-vocalizing: saying the words you see to yourself.

Improving Your Reading Speed

The following method describes what you can do to actually speed up your reading:

  • Place your hand on a page and move it smoothly down and across from side to side, at a steady pace.
  • Run your hand down the page faster than it is possible to see anything till you are taking only 3 seconds per page. At first you will see nothing but gradually you will begin to see key words. This is because your brain is perceiving the broad meaning of the page.
  • To benefit you this exercise must be continued for 20 minutes.

Three main benefits result:

1. you cannot skip back over words
2. you no longer hear the words in your head (which slows you down)
3. your perception of what is fast reading changes.

Now, when you go back to reading at your normal pace you will find that you are actually reading faster than before. If you do this exercise regularly you will over time increase your reading speed.

 To make sure you get the most out of your reading:

  • Choose a quiet, comfortable place
  • Make sure you have everything you need such as water or stationery
  • If you are speed reading, do it in short bursts as it requires intense concentration and is very tiring.

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The page was designed and edited in May 1998 by Karl Mair.