How fast do I read? | Discussion

Usually when people realize how many books I read in an average week/month/year, their immediate response is to exclaim: “WOW. You must read really fast.” This remark has always struck me as rather odd because I don’t picture myself as a very fast reader; rather, I’ve always though that the reason I read so much is that I simply spend a lot of time reading. However, recently I watched a video by Ariel Bissett called “Can You Read Faster?” that made me ask myself: How fast do I actually read?

In this video, Ariel embarks on a mini challenge of sorts to increase how many words per minute (wpm) she reads, aided by assorted video tutorials giving tips on how to speed read. Though the prospect of speed reading sounds pretty enticing at times, I’ve always been a bit wary of its impact on how much someone comprehends while reading. Apparently there are ways of improving comprehension levels alongside increasing one’s wpm, which I’m sure involve a great deal of forcing yourself to focus solely on the words on the page rather than thinking of that delicious piece of cake waiting for you at the end of your reading assignment.

(Focus, Holly.)

Anyways, after watching Ariel’s video I decided to try a little experiment of my own. A quick Google search brought me to dozens of websites dedicated to calculating one’s reading speed. I tried the first three that popped up and ended up with 472513, and 507 wpm, which averages out to a solid 497 wpm.  This is obviously just a rough estimate, but considering that the average adult reads around 300 wpm and the average college student reads about 450 wpm, I would say this is a fairly accurate result. A little faster than the average college student, but nothing extraordinary.

So, am I a speed reader like people generally seem to assume that I am? My verdict: nope. Again, I think the reason I’m able to read so many books is that I simply spend more time reading on a regular basis than the average person normally would.

Perhaps I’ll try learning how to speed read in the future (summer break?) but for now I’m happy with my current reading speed. I feel like I strike a good balance between reading briskly enough to make quick progress and reading slowly enough to comprehend the maximum amount of information that I can. Still, there’s no denying that speed reading would be an incredibly valuable skill to have, especially as a college English major.

Do you consider yourself a slow, average, or fast reader? Have you ever tried speed reading before? How many wpm do you read? Let me know in the comments section below!



21 thoughts on “How fast do I read? | Discussion

  1. I’d say I’m an average reader but if a book is really good and fast-paced I can finish it in a short amount of time. I’ve reached the conclusion that I’m an average/slightly fast reader but I don’t spend a lot of time reading at the moment because of school/studying and other hobbies I also devote time to. I’d like to find a way to read more though!

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    1. I feel the same way! It’s never fun when school gets in the way of reading 😦 Luckily as an English major I do get to read a lot for my classes, so it ends up working out in the end.


    1. I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels this way! For instance, during the semester I don’t have a lot of time to read for fun, so I generally don’t get much reading done. But during the summer when I have oodles of free time to read I can get through SO MANY books– but only because I have ample amount of free time! 🙂

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  2. It always boggles my mind when someone says they sat down and read a full length novel in like 3 hours. I would read so many more books if I could read that fast! I read about average speed, but like you, I just spend a lot of time reading. If I do finish a book within a day, it’s probably because I spent literally the entire day reading, and it has to be a really good book for me to do that.

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    1. I completely agree! I have a friend who can read long novels in one sitting and she amazes me every time she does it. I could read SO MANY books if I could do that! 🙂

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  3. I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately too. Reading books fast is just… no fun 🙂 I do fast forward articles though, maybe I should see how fast I can read, you’ve made me curious.
    However, I’ve noticed that choice of books also impacts the reading times a lot. If I read YA, a book takes me 2 hours. If I read literary, it takes me weeks (in a sum of maybe 10 hours or so). Unfortunately, I read more literary xD so my GR goal suffers lol

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    1. I experience different reading speeds with different kinds of books, too. I generally read YA faster as well, especially if it has a larger font size. (And then there are graphic novels, but that’s a whole different ball game!) 🙂


  4. I would say I am an average reader (among readers I see on blogs and Instagram) but a fast reader when looking at a bigger picture. I have never really counted my speed of reading. I know on an average I finish about 50 pages in half an hour. Ofcourse this varies according to genre.

    Must try a few speed reading sessions. Though I am not sure if reading fast is equivalent to enjoying a book

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    1. I love your last point about reading fast v. actually enjoying the book. Sometimes I feel as though I purposely slow down my reading speed to savor a really great book, especially if it’s one that I’ve never read before.


  5. I think I’m a fast reader, mainly because when I try to read along with an audiobook, I have to speak it up in order to not get ahead of the audiobook. 😆 I’ll have to check out the WPM websites you used. Also, I spend a TON of time reading, so that definitely factors in to my book total.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So, I took all three tests, and I am completely average. 223, 287, and 297 WPM, although I did score 100% on comprehension. Every test said that to improve my time I should stop “sub vocalizing” or reading along in my head. I honestly can’t comprehend how to do that!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Me neither!! I’m definitely aware of the fact that I do sub-vocalize while I read, but that’s just how I read… how do other people read who don’t do that?! Reading speed is so interesting! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  6. This is such a good discussion post! I might try this out, I’m curious to see how fast I read. It could be interesting as well to tie this back in to how fast you read whole books (if that makes sense), which I guess would like to focus as well as wmp.


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