How Quickly Can You Read? {Test & Discussion}


Today, I took Staples Reading Speed Test to see how many words per minute I can read. I’ve noticed that I read probably a little bit more than the average book blogger (in 2013, I read an average of ~4600 pages, or about 15 books, a month), so I was curious to see whether it might be because of reading speed, or because of something else — like just having more free time, which I do think is a big part of it.

Well, apparently I read around 360 words per minute, which is 44% above average, but only about the level of an 11th grade student (compared to the 450wpm score of average college students). Uhh, I feel kinda bummed that apparently I’m not a super quick reader, and didn’t even make it to college level, even though I have my Bachelor’s in English!

But, oh well! I guess speed’s not everything, haha.

So what I really want to know is…how fast can YOU read? Wouldn’t it be cool to compare scores between bloggers? Take the test and post your score in the comments! It only takes a minute to find out.

ereader test
Source: Staples eReader Department

What’s YOUR reading speed? How many books/pages do you read a month on average? Do you think that speed affects how many books you’re able to read? Do you wish you could read faster?

30 responses to “How Quickly Can You Read? {Test & Discussion}

  1. I tried my best to read at my natural pace, but I do believe I read a little slower when I am actually enjoying a book – is that weird? My score was 545 words per minute – 118% above the “national” average, and between the Average College Student and High Level Executive. I’ve done other reading speed tests before (for Goodreads threads) and this is so far the most interesting! I only read about 4 books a month, but I think it’s due to free time rather than reading speed.

    Interesting post! 15 books a month is pretty impressive!

  2. Huh. I got 430 words per minute! I have no idea how that’s possible, since it takes me forever to finish reading books! 2-3 days for a 300-400 page book. I used to read 10 books a month, but recently it’s been reduced to around 5 because of school… o_o

  3. 655! Interesting. I don’t know if I put too much stock into the whole rating education level by reading speed though- seems a bit dodgy. I wonder if they did a survey or something and that’s how they got that data.
    I read quite a lot- probs a book every day or two.

    • I think it just means that they tested the reading speed of a bunch of college students, and that’s the average that they came up with, etc. I’m sure they didn’t just assign a random number without doing a survey first, haha!

      Yeah that’s about how much I read, too 🙂

  4. 214! I did not do well at all. In my defense it’s 5:30 in the morning and I haven’t had coffee yet;-) That’s got to mean something, right? Cool test!

  5. I got 353, but I think there are a lot of flaws with that test. The reading selection is so short that it doesn’t give you enough time to really fall into your natural reading rhythm. Also, the speed comparison seems pretty made-up to me. I would be surprised if reading speeds really vary that drastically between the average high school student, college student, and professor.

    • Yeah, I felt the same way about the short reading selection. I didn’t feel like I was reading as fast as I normally would. But I think they want to make the selection short so that people won’t feel like they’re getting themselves into something when they open up the test. But you’re right that it’s definitely not perfect :/

      I guess I was assuming that they’d done some sort of survey and then taken the average from those groups of people. But I guess we don’t really know!

  6. I got 442, the first time I read a bit hurried and got 491. Not sure how accurate the test is, but it was fun to try! I haven’t had much time to read lately, so only read 4 books last month, that has more to do with being busy. I once measured my reading speeds while reading and averaged about 1 page a minute, I am sure that test isn’t correct either, but I usually use that as my guideline when estimating time for reading, like if I should go to sleep now or can finish the book first ;).

    • Haha, yeah, it’s probably not super accurate. But whatever! 😛 Still fun and gave me good discussion topic. Yeah I think I read about the same speed — 1 page a minute, usually. But estimating doesn’t always work for me, because I’ll just stay up as late as it takes to finish the book anyway, haha!

  7. I only got 215, which is a bit below the national average. I’m a very slow reader, and I always have been. But also, I read more quickly once I get the feel of the story, so when I’m starting out I read slower as I’m adjusting to the writing. Although I think that’s true for lots of people.

    I’ve always been a slow reader, and I hated it in high school and college, because it would take me so much longer to get the reading done than everyone else.

    I don’t mind it anymore, though. I am a slow reader, but a very good one. I pay attention to the details, and I’m usually able to recall them months and months after finishing the books. I don’t think being a fast reader makes you a great reader. Not that fast readers can’t be great readers.

    I also read a ton of books each month. That’s because I devote a lot of time to reading, and I listen to audiobooks while doing chores or in the car.

    • I think that’s awesome that you can recall book details so well! I WISH that was the case for me! And it doesn’t seem to matter how fast or slow I read the book…I often forget key details like the main characters name only minutes after finishing a book! And a couple weeks or months later? Forget it. I’m lucky if I could give you a general description of what happened :/ Ugh. But I’ve always been this way. Nothing really seems to help!

  8. 663. But I agree with everyone else that there are probably a lot of factors that could make this inaccurate. I definitely read more slowly if I’m really into a book and trying to savor it (not the case here, since it was a random passage). I also read nonfiction more slowly than fiction, on average, especially if it’s something with a lot of technical terms or complex topics.

    I also agree with you that “books read per year” is something largely determined by how much free time someone has. I certainly read when I had summers off, than when I was working or in school. I think it also depends on the type of books one reads. I could probably read 3 young adult books in the time it takes me to read some classics.

  9. That was kind of fun! I took it a few times to see if I’d get close to the same results & I did – 525, 549 and 569.

  10. I ended up with 405 wpm. It used to be faster, actually! Anywhere from 600-800 when I was in college. I guess I’m just a leisure reader now, not a “oh shit I have 500 pages to read in twelve hours and then I have to write 5 pages on it” reader like in school 😉

  11. I read 559 words per minute, which puts me about 124% faster than the national average and at a “high-level executive” speed. While this may be accurate, I’m not sure I read that fast when I’m reading on my own time. I know I still read fast, but I tend to take my time absorbing books unless I’m furiously flipping the pages because I need to know what happens next RIGHT NOW lol.

    I used to read anywhere from 2 to 3 books a week but I’ve slowed down a LOT this year because I sort of read myself dry last winter. Right now it takes me a couple days to finish a book, sometimes a week. I’m just trying to read for pleasure and to read at my own pace instead of reading to meet my Goodreads goal or reading to write quick reviews. 😛

  12. I got 513 wpm with 100% accuracy. My reading speed really varies though…sometimes if I can’t concentrate I have to go back several times, or slow down to try to absorb better; other times I can nearly skim through and understand everything. I only read about 3 books a month now sadly, but it’s because I just don’t have spare time. Between working full time, running my Etsy shop, blogging, and maintaining a 2,280 sq ft house, I just don’t have the free time I used to anymore! (Case in point: I read 141 books in 2012 and I’m already 10 books behind my goal of 65 this year. Sad sad day…)

    When I actually have time, if I have the attention span to sit long enough for it I can typically finish a 300 page book in about 3 hours.

    Thanks for sharing, this was awesome! I always wondered how my reading speed compared to other readers 🙂

  13. I took the test three times for three different books and I got between 32-47% above average. I made an effort not to read faster than I usually do.

    I used to think I’m a fast reader, but I guess not. 😀 I keep getting distracted a lot, and I’m probably reading faster when I’ve been reading for a while and I’m really immersed in a book. I’d love to take the test while reading for longer than a page and with different kinds of books and in different languages to see how that alters the result! I guess it also only applies to the average of people who have internet access and who can understand English.

    I got all the questions right for all the texts (even though sometimes I didn’t even know the answer for sure). I wonder how much faster I could read while still being able to answer the questions correctly.

    Thanks for sharing, it’s a very interesting test!

  14. Hmmm, so I did it twice. The first time I got 300 wpm, reading a pretty short passage that had somewhat unfamiliar syntax/language. The second time I got 368 wpm, reading a much longer passage that I was already familiar with. I dunno.

    Normally I read YA books at about 1 page per minute, MG books at about 1.5 pages per minute, and adult books at less than 1 page per minute. It’s nice because I can usually estimate exactly how many pages I can read in the time I have, or how much time I’ll need to finish a book.

  15. I got 496 (which is so close to 500, so it makes me a bit bummed. I blame the ambulance that just drove past!) and 100% accuracy. I think I need to close the page before I try to take it until I get like, the best number 😉 Such a fun post idea, I love seeing everyone’s results!

  16. I got 272 wpm, 9% faster than national average. I’m not surprised. I do feel like I tend to be slower than most book bloggers. When I started my Master’s degree my professor told all of us we should train ourselves to read faster by not reading aloud the words in our head and not necessarily reading every word (I think we were supposed to look at the beginning and end of each line but not the middle? I can’t remember exactly). But me? I can’t not sort of narrate the story in my head, making voices and setting the tone through my internal reading. If it’s an action scene I’ll speed up, but if it’s just description or setting I’ll slow down. It just depends! But yes, I generally don’t feel like I read that fast. I also don’t save as much time for reading as others, so between both of those I really don’t get around to reading as many books as I’d like!

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  19. I scored a 312, which is 25% faster than the national average (and I’m on par with the “average adult”) I’m kind of surprised it was that high because I feel like I am a slow reader. I tried it again where I read faster, and I was unable to answer the questions successfully afterward.

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