How to Analyze Your Reading Speed

In this chapter of the book you will be able to test out your current reading speed. However, before we do that you need to make sure that you have several things.

The Reading Environment

One of the most important things that beginning reading should evaluate is the reading environment. A noisy reading environment will produce a lack of interest in reading. Moreover, if you are forcing yourself to read in such an area, your comprehension of the material read is very poor. Thus, make sure you are in a comfortable area with good light and minimal noise. Set a goal to read for a period of time and do not leave that area. If you are consistently thinking about something else while reading, your reading speed will reflect it.

If you feel that there is something wrong with your eyes or they are constantly making it difficult for you to read, then you must visit an eye specialist or a doctor.  As a result of this, your eyes might become fatigue and you many need to stop reading.  We recommend that you take a 1-5 minute break after every 45-60 minutes of reading.  This break is very important because it allows your eyes to reset.  Many people how have taken these breaks have reported very wonderful feedback when they continued reading.

Your Reading Conditions

Before you begin to read, you must make sure that you have enough lighting in the room to read correctly.  This type of lighting should not produce a glare in glossy papers.  Hence, if you are constantly rotating our head to see the text then chances are that you have to much light.  To make sure that you have the right amount of light, place your finger about an inch above the text and notice the shadow it produces.  If the shadow produced as very dark in texture then there is too much lighting.  It is best to have a very light shadow or no shadow at all

You must also have a straight posture while you are reading.  For example, you should have your back against the chair with no slouching.  It is also important to note that you should not be reading lying down.  This posture will make you even more tired and you will not be able to concentrate on what you are reading.  Likewise, the book that you are reading should be placed at a 45 degree angle.  If the book is placed at any other angle you will most likely be slouching in order to read the book. 

The Fastreaders’ Checklist

In addition to a suited environment, you also need the following things to test your reading speed (try to have all of these tools available during the time you are reading):

  • Book / Magazine / Newspaper Article – You need any of the following reading materials to test out your current reading speed. When choosing an article to read, concentrate on the reading level of that material. Make sure the reading level of that material is suited for you. In addition, make sure the length of the article is not too small and the binding on the book is not too stiff; this will enable you to turn pages more quickly. The easiest way to loosen the binding on a book is to open the book and lay it flat on a surface while applying some pressure. Continue to do this to different portions of the book until the binding is no longer stiff. Also, try to avoid book with pictures that will shift your focus to them as they can halt your reading. For beginners, try to focus more on your reading speed than your comprehension of the material. However, for advanced readers, try to focus more energy on comprehending the material while maintaining a fast reading pace.
  • Watch – You will need a watch to time yourself when reading.
  • Pencil / Pen – You need a writing utensil in order to fill out the timing sheets.
  • Ruler – This tool will serve as a guiding device while reading.

As you learn to read faster, you will also learn how to control your reading speed.  Depending on the material being read, the difficulty, and your familiarity with it, you may choose to read faster or slower.  This is a very important concept because as a smarter reader you will not read everything at the same rate.  Instead you will adjust your reading speed to better understand the information.  The traditional way of reading has been to read word-by-word from the beginning of the material until the end.  However, as you progress though this course you will learn that this procedure is very misleading and can waste a lot of time.  As a result, you will also learn many different ways of reading and learn which method is to be used to accomplish your reading purpose.

On the next page there is a “preparation” worksheet. You have to fill one out every time when you are preparing to speed read. The main purpose of the preparation worksheet is to calculate the TOTAL WORDS PER PAGE. Although this digit will be an estimate it is very close to the actual amount. At this time, please practice filling the preparation worksheet on the next page.

Note: Save the book that you used to fill up this worksheet because you will use it to calculate your reading speed in the next portion of this guide.