In today’s hyper-competitive world, reading is about as fundamental skill as there is. In both school and the professional world, being able to read quickly and with good comprehension is essential for success. A person who can read more efficiently and has a higher average reading speed than his or her peers is at a huge advantage.
How Does My Average Reading Speed Compare to Other High School and College Students?
The following list gives an overview of average reading speeds among young people. Remember, these are only averages and that lots of young men and women read both much slower and much quicker. To be a high-achieving student, above average reading skills are exceedingly beneficial, if not downright mandatory.
High School Freshman: 200 words per minute
High School Senior: 225-250 words per minute
College Freshman: 250 words per minute
College Senior: 275-300 words per minute
What Are the Advantages of a Faster Reading Speed?
Having a fast reading speed makes nearly everything you do in your academic career easier and more productive. For instance, studying is enhanced because you can quickly scan your notes and textbooks, leaving more time to focus on actually learning the relevant material.
Can I Improve My Reading Speed?
Most of us waste a substantial amount of time going back over words and phrases that we already read. Known as re-tracking, this process is a needless and a fixable reading speed bump. One easy but effective strategy is to trace what you read, word by word, with the tip of your finger or the point of a pencil. Move your tracing implement along at a steady rate and your eyes will naturally tend to keep up.
This is a fancy word to describe the common practice of pronouncing each world in your head as you read. While you may be sitting in your chair silently, in your mind you’re still “saying” each and every syllable. This could be a result of the fact that we all learned to read out loud back when we were little kids.
While sub-vocalization is normal and nearly everyone does it to some degree, language experts suggest that eliminating it could dramatically boost a person’s average reading speed. The idea is that our minds are capable of processing words faster than we can pronounce them. If we can remove the habit of silently saying each word while reading and, instead, just see and understand the words, the pages will begin to fly by almost automatically.
Known for her pioneering Speed Reading System. She was born in Logan, Utah in 1909. Received her B.A. in English from the University of Utah in 1929, and became a school teacher and a researcher.
Evelyn Wood began to study reading while she was a teacher. She wanted to understand why some people were naturally faster at reading, she tried to read very quickly also. While brushing off the pages of a book she had thrown down in despair, she discovered that the sweeping motion of her hand across the page caught the attention of her eyes, and helped them move more smoothly across the page. She then began establishing her own methods of using a finger/pointer to trace lines of text while eliminating sub-vocalizing. This method causes to increase speed over the average reading rate while increasing retention. She also discovered that faster readers were more effective readers.
Evelyn was capable of reading 2,700 words a minute. She often read down the page rather than left to right, reading groups of words or complete thoughts rather than single words. Evelyn also avoid involuntary rereading of material and applying their efficiency to varied material. She first taught the method at the University of Utah, and published her own book, Reading Skills in 1959. She and her husband, Doug Wood, started the Evelyn Wood Reading Dynamics business. Her classes were advertised on television in the 1960s and 1970s, and were also taught on college campuses in the United States until the late 1990s. One of Wood’s speed reading students claimed that she could read 689-page novel Gone with the Wind in less than one hour.
How important is speed reading?
Most of us tend to read at about 200-400 words per minute, speed readers claim to hit around 1000-1700 words per minute. Speed readers supposedly shorten how long they fixate on a word. They tend to do this by cutting down on sub-vocalization. When you read at 200 words per minute, a 1000-word will take you five minutes. Now imagine that you double your reading speed suddenly that 1000-word article only takes you two and a half, or just a minute. Being able to double the typical reading speed of the average person does not sound like much, but when you are bombarded with thousands of words to read a day, you almost magically have a lot time to work on your school work, or important projects in your professional environment.
What are the strategies of Evelyn Wood’s Speed Reading System?
There are more than two strategies in Speed Reading, but Skimming and Scanning are the two most commonly known and used. These two Speed Reading Systems are used for different purposes, they are the fast end of the speed reading range, while studying is at the slow end. People who use these techniques are flexible readers, they do not read everything which is what increases their reading speed. They read according to their purpose and get the information they need quickly without wasting time.
How to skim
Look at the title, subheadings, pictures, diagram and else stands out on the page. Read the first and last paragraphs of the chapter because they often contain key information. Read the first sentence of each paragraph, try to restate what you read in your own words. Also, read those phrases in bold or italic type. These words and terms usually are important to understand and remember. Try to read the text quickly, but pay attention to what you pick up in the process. Focus on the nouns and verbs. Skimming will help you locate the information quickly while making sure you use your time wisely. You can read 1000 words per minute.
Skimming looks only for the general or main ideas, and work best with non-fiction material. An effective tool you can use to read more in less time.
How to scan
Scanning is very useful for finding a specific name, date, statistics, or fact without reading the entire article, it also allows you to fine details and other information in a hurry. Keep in mind at all times what it is you are searching for. If you hold the image of the word or idea clearly in mind, it is likely to appear more clearly than the surrounding words. Let your eyes run rapidly over several lines of print at a time. When you find the sentence that has the information you seek, read the entire sentence.
In scanning, you must be willing to skip over large sections of text without reading or understanding them. Learning to use your hands while scanning is very helpful in locating specific information. Your peripheral vision can also help you scan effectively. When your hand moves down a list of names, you see not only the name your finger is pointing to, but also the names above and below. You can read 1500 or more words per minute.
If you are planning on attending college or taking courses in the near future, you will benefit from increasing your reading speed and comprehension.
Most courses rely heavily on textbooks to convey the information you learn. If your reading speed is slow or your comprehension poor, you are going to be at a disadvantage in your classes.
You want to find out how to increase reading speed and comprehension before you start your college studies.
These tips will help you improve your reading speed that will lead to a successful study.
Reading Speed Tips:
Learn Skimming Techniques
The first tip on how to increase reading speed and comprehension is to learn to skim the material effectively.
When you take a college course, you do not have to master every bit of information included in the text. Instead, you need to pick out the major ideas and key points.
Effective skimming begins with looking through the assigned reading prior to reading it. The titles, headings and subheadings will give you an idea what the reading is about.
To skim, read the first and last paragraph of every section. Then read the first and last few sentences of every paragraph. This will quickly give you a sense of what the reading selection is all about.
Go back and re-read important sections more carefully after you skim.
As you read, convert the titles, headings and subheadings into questions that need to be answered. Then as you read each section, identify the answers to these questions. You might even write these answers in your notes to enhance your understanding and comprehension.
Keep Your Eyes Moving
Make sure you keep your eyes moving forward across the text as you read. This helps you to read faster. Do not go back and re-read sections until you finish skimming the entire selection.
To avoid moving your eye backwards, use an index card and place it above the line you are reading. This will prevent your eyes from moving up the page to material you have already read.
Do not highlight as you read. It breaks your reading pace and slows you down.
Learning how to increase reading speed and comprehension will be important as you approach college. The faster you read, the more effective use you can make of your study time. Increased reading comprehension leads to increased mastery of the material. This will yield great results both in terms of good grades and future career success.
College classes are expensive, and you want to make sure you get the most value from classes. Learning how to read quickly with high comprehension will allow you to do this. And, when you’re successful, you will truly enjoy and make the most of your education.
How Does Photoreading Work?
Some people claim to be able to look at a page, memorize it’s contents, and access that knowledge at anytime. This process is commonly called photoreading. Since the imaging process is supposed to resemble a photograph in your head. You could effectively cheat on tests and quizzes thru reflecting on the textbook pages during the exam, or have access to formulas, data, and important information at anytime. Making mental images of certain pages that have critical information.
Should this technique be proven to actually work?
It would be a phenomenal advantage for anyone who took the time to learn this. However, despite the thousands of people out there who claim that photoreading is a real technique, scientists are having a great deal of trouble verifying the claims what photoreaders said. Most scientists accept that it’s possible to recall the images on a page over a short term. But, the speed of recall and the lack of people who can successfully do any kind of recall after a few days. In their minds, photoreading is basically nothing more than a magic trick which can be used at a party.
Photoreading is a very controversial side topic in the world of speed reading. While some people swear its usefulness, others are convinced that it’s complicated, overbearing, and downright ridiculous technique to even attempt. Basically, photoreading is a memorization technique in which you attempt to make an image of the page which can stay with you for hours, days, or even a lifetime. And, that you can then view it in your mind’s eye whenever you please.
Research currently being conducted on this topic is not quite sure what to think. The basic thought is that it’s possible to recreate some very basic parlor trick type recall of some specific pages in books. But, that it’s not all that possible to do all that much more. How much you can memorize beyond the first few days past reading is somewhat more difficult to measure.
Top Teen Books
Practicing the skill of reading books will help anyone increase their reading speed. A really gripping series like Harry Potter can drive teens to read faster and faster.
NPR Books just released their annual teen reading survey results and lists the most popular 100 teen books. Here’s their top 100 list.
Ways to Learn Speed Reading
College life can seem hectic, and sometimes, it may very well be too much so. However, you can quickly and easily remove a lot of the problems that most students face on a daily basis by learning the simple skill of speed reading. If you can learn to read at twice the speed you read currently, you’ll be drastically cutting down on the amount of time you’ll need to spend doing the weekly assignments, and you’ll have plenty more time available for working on the large research projects that make up the largest percentage of your grades, and plenty of opportunities to socialize with friends after class.
How do you learn speed reading? It’s actually rather easy to do, because there are numerous classes or seminars offered nowadays. Your major universities will also likely offer a class in study skills for freshmen, and they will give you a brief overview of speed reading there as well. Some libraries offer classes from time to time, and it will be free at a library, which is a significant advantage. In addition, there are numerous books on the subject of time management and organization which teach speed reading techniques and skills, and even some which focus directly on the topic of speed reading. Many websites also have this information available.
No matter how you choose to learn speed reading, however, the simple fact of the matter is that you have to start learning how to do it sooner rather than later. Once you start college without this necessary ability, you won’t have the time to learn it when you’re there.
What techniques can help when student struggles in reading? Some high school students come to us with a fifth-grade speed reading level. Others come to us without the basic knowledge of multiplication. A student walked into my classroom the other day, and couldn’t point out South America on a world map.
As a teacher, it’s of the utmost importance that all students in my classroom succeed. Even those who are significantly behind where they should be. Thanks to the dual problems of grade inflation and social promotion. Students are more likely than ever to be advanced in grade despite serious deficiencies in their schoolwork. This makes the more-advanced-than-ever-curriculum of a standard high school cause all kinds of stress and difficulties for your everyday student. Can a teacher do and get these students engaged in learning? While every student is certainly different, studies have shown that a strong individual effort made by caring teachers is often more than enough to get the job done.
What Can You Do to Combat Student Struggles
My first suggestion is to make sure to give them appropriate work for their ability. It’s often necessary to give them a battery of tests that will show you at a glance who is lacking the basic skills necessary to do well in your class. Take the short amount of time to speed read their facial expressions after you’ve demonstrated an idea to see if they follow. And if possible, write down what you see as far as clues.
Once you have identified these students, work one-on-one with them as much as possible. While peer tutoring is great, recognize that these students have a tendency to be resistant to this because it exposes their “stupidity” to others. Instead, assign them fewer problems from the standard homework set, and instead give them something more appropriate to teaching them the remedial skills they need to succeed. You must always keep them involved in the lesson somehow, and still give them participation points and homework from the current level of coursework, but you need to tailor it to their particular set of abilities if you plan on having them find any kind of success whatsoever.
Start Slowly with Struggling Students
While the idea of giving individualized homework and lower-difficulty lessons and problems has merits, it often doesn’t accelerate as quickly as it needs to in order to get lower-achieving students up to speed with the rest of the class. When this fails to happen, you often end up teaching at such a lower level that you might as well end up planning for a whole extra class during your day. In addition, you’ll struggle during grade time, since it’s hard to assign a student a grade in high school level US history when you were covering most of the major topics at a 7th grade level.
In order to get all of your students on board with the program, start with developing their basic skills. A student struggles usually because it requires a significant amount of review on every subject before it becomes a part of their knowledge base. Particularly, with basic skills like increasing reading comprehension, so review with them early and often. Once you’ve made the jump into current lessons, make sure to still help them through their review work as well. Otherwise they may simply lose it.
Speed Reading Techniques That Can Help You With In College
Speed reading should be taught to every single teenager on their way to college. Unfortunately, too many students are sent away without this necessary component of their schooling. Therefore, a student struggles with keeping up with their work throughout the semester.
In college, you need to read so much more than you ever did in high school. Oftentimes, you’ll find that you need to complete some short essay and read entire novels on a week’s end. This causes many of the common problems that most students have with their college life. Namely, that they have a tendency to get behind and eventually stop reading all of their required books. When that happens, many students simply shrug off the learning and studying all together. However, this is a terrible way to go about learning new materials in school. And, it will start to catch up with you quickly.
Evelyn Wood is considered to be the inventor of speed reading. Before Evelyn Wood speed reading was completely unknown. In the 1950s, she was one of the first individuals to put her ideas about reading quickly down in writing. In them, she discussed some of the basic reading techniques that we often mention on this site. Including things like using your finger to pace your reading. And, sub-vocalization, though she called it “reading without sounding words” at the time.
Evelyn Wood Speed Reading Today
In general, the Evelyn Wood Speed Reading Courses are given in seminar format. In which you spend three long days being trained in the art of speed reading. The first day is usually spent discovering reasons why you read slowly, and doing some basic testing and reading exercises. The second and third days are spent discussing how texts are organized. Plus, how you can easily pick out which sections you need to read and which you can skip.
By the end of the three days, they state that most individuals are reading six times faster than they were at the beginning of the course and with a 5-15% increase in their reading comprehension. This is not a really amazing claim that is being made by the Evelyn Wood Speed Reading people, which is a refreshing change from what you typically see in other, over-hyped programs.
Evelyn Wood Speed Reading Problems
Her course has not evolved all that much over the course of 60 years. Reading tests and materials are often given in pen-and-paper form, timed with stopwatches, and much of the calculations required are done by hand. This makes the Evelyn Wood Speed Reading class a little dated, but still worthwhile.
Overall, we found Evelyn Wood Speed Reading to be a pretty good course, but a little behind the times. Today, for instance, we know that reading while dragging a pen across the page is a good technique for reading quickly at first, but can eventually become a crutch that limits you from reading as fast as you can. And, can sometimes cause you to read very poorly when you don’t have one of the instruments in your hand, or you cannot find a way to scroll across the page (as if you were reading a sign or poster).