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Reading strategies to improve reading skills

 

Reading speeds

Improve reading rates 

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The average reading speed of a school age child is approximately 200 words per minute (wpm). There is only minimal improvement as we progress into adulthood with the average reading rate for adults at about 250 wpm with 70% comprehension.

Reading rates vary depending on the purpose for reading.

  • Reading for memorisation - 100 wpm
  • Reading for learning - 100-200 wpm
  • Reading for comprehension - 200-400 wpm
  • Skimming - 400-700 wpm, however comprehension rates for skimming typically drop to approximately 50%.

There is a trade-off when increasing the speed of which you read and this is a decline in reading comprehension. 

The top speed readers in the world typically read roughly 1,000 to 2,000 wpm with 50% comprehension or above.

Set yourself a realistic reading goal

If you want to improve your reading rate begin by setting yourself a realistic goal. A reading speed of 500 to 800 wpm is a realistic objective with 75% comprehension. This is a good level of comprehension and an ideal reading speed for general reading purposes.

The next step to improve your reading rate, is to take an online reading test and determine your current speed and reading comprehension.

Once you have a base rate you can begin to implement speed reading strategies and track your progress towards your goal.

There are many ways you can increase your reading speed. You could enrol into a speed reading course, purchase a speed reading computer software program or buy a speed reading book.

Tips for improving speed

However the best way to quickly and easily read faster is to practice. Here are some basic tips to increase your speed:

  • Don't use internal speech by saying each word in your head when you read, it is not necessary and slows you down
  • Think about what you are reading while you read, be engaged in the text. Always ensure you are not thinking about something else while you are scanning the words.
  • Scan the words from the centre of the text rather than moving your eyes from left to right. Use your finger to point just below the centre of the words and move your finger down the page as you read. This trains your eyes to read more of the text with a single glance rather than needing to look directly at each word.
  • Learn when to slow down and when to scan. Begin to recognise the text that is required for comprehension and the text that you can just glance at briefly.

If you use all of the above techniques and specifically practice reading for speed every day your reading speed will improve.

Good luck and happy reading.


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