What Is Speed Reading?

The average student reads between 250 and 300 words per minute. A “good” speed is around 500 to 700 words per minute with exceptional readers covering one thousands words, or more, per minute.

So why should you speed read?

  1. TO BETTER UNDERSTAND – research has shown that an increase in the rate of reading corresponds to an increase in understanding of content
  2. TO SAVE TIME –  reading word-for-word is time consuming – you can get bogged down by too many unnecessary words

How Do I speed Read?

Here are four ways in which the speed at which you read can be improved:

Have an eye examination
  • Slow reading is often related to eye problems. Visit your optometrist to get the “all clear” on your vision. 

Silence is golden

  • You can read most material two or three times faster when you read silently. If you can hear the words, try to focus on key words as you force yourself to read faster.

Avoid re-reading

  • The average student rereads 20 times on a single page. What a waste of time! Re-reading allows your mind to wander, breaks your concentration and decreases your ability to comprehend the materia

Read with your eyes wide open 

  • Increasing your eye-span by reading groups of words at a glance allows you read in phrases or thought units.

Adjust your rate of reading according to the level of difficulty of the material.


  • new material where you need to learn the main points
  • difficult sentence and paragraph structure
  • unfamiliar concepts
  • detailed technical matter, statistics or difficult principles


  • familiar material
  • unnecessary examples or graphics
  • detailed explanations you do not need
  • broad ideas that restate material you have already covered and understand

Self-Pacing Methods for Speed Reading

There are many techniques to improve your speed reading. Click on each link to learn about self-pacing methods for speed reading:

Before you start speed reading, do a quick scan of the information first to get the general idea of the topic and tone.

Resources (some downloads are unavailable, contact your tutor if you need further supports for this area of study)


Click here to take a test that will determine your reading speed. You will need a timer/clock with a second hand or a stopwatch.


Apply each self-pacing method to your next reading session to discover which works best for you. Practice it regularly as you read.


Take this online test to calculate your reading speed and comprehension.


Click here for more speed reading techniques.

Last modified: Tuesday, 2 October 2018, 8:45 AM