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 thousand 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 everything “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, focus on keywords 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 material.

Read with your eyes wide open 

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

Adjust your reading rate 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 matters, 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, quickly scan the information first to get a general idea of the topic and tone.

Contact your tutor if you need further support for this area of study.

Last modified: Thursday, 18 January 2024, 2:44 PM