American presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy are all legendary personalities the world can never forget. Besides their greatness, another facet of their capabilities may have gone unnoticed. They were all supposed to be skilful speed readers.
Speed reading and its efficacy is a subject that has a number of commentators who extol the virtues of speed reading while others have denounced the very concept of speed reading.
Be that as it may and for a moment let us consider that speed reading is an ability that can be useful for people to learn so as to enjoy more hours of reading in their lifetime.
A reading speed test is helpful in knowing the current reading speed and measuring is the first step in improving on the skill of Reading.
Advantages of speed reading test
Is there a method by which we can differentiate a reader on the basis of his reading speed? Yes! There are methods which test the reading speeds of a reader, and they are called speed reading tests generically.
A speed reading test is very useful in evaluating our reading speed more for our own personal satisfaction, and not necessarily to compete against others. If we can learn to read faster, we can read more of our newspaper in the time allotted for that activity in our daily life or read more books during our lifetime. We must not forget that we are not news readers on TV who read from a teleprompter without perhaps comprehending what is being read. We must, therefore, ensure our reading speed has increased without compromising our comprehension levels.
If started early in life, may be in the school itself, speed reading tests could help our children to be evaluated on their reading speeds and determine if their performance at school would improve if their reading speeds improved without losing out on comprehension.
Reading speed test definitely, would help us if we are planning to compete in the many speed reading competitions that are held throughout the world.
Reading tests have some collateral benefits in the sense that we can improve our concentration levels manifold by taking a different speed reading tests. If we are testing for our own satisfaction we need to concentrate intensely and as a consequence our powers of concentration increase which will stand us in good stead in other areas of our daily life.
These tests have an additional benefit accruing to those of us who take the test. Most of the tests also offer techniques for improving the reading speed and also reading comprehension. Maybe, we are too slow in reading and comprehension and we want to improve, and thus we make the move to enhance our reading speed thanks to the speed reading test we took.
How to test Reading Speed
The most popular method is to read a passage and measure the reading speed, and then answer a comprehension quiz to measure the level of comprehension. The result is given in two parts; the first part measures the reading speed and the second part measures the comprehension. These tests are administered most often online and are easy to take, and the results are known immediately.
Tools to test the reading speed
The staples.com website offers a simple and straightforward speed reading test that we can administer to ourselves.
The test hosts an uncomplicated web page template (aping the eReader the company is promoting) that has simple instructions to follow, which says “This is a timed test, but read at your natural pace and do not skim. The timer will start when you click the button: ‘Start Reading.’
When we click on the ‘Start Reading’ button a passage is loaded onto the template. Once we finish reading we click the ‘Finished’ button, which opens to the result page of our reading speed.
The result page tells us the number of words we have read and the time taken to read them. The result is displayed in minutes and seconds. The same page exhorts us to answer three multiple choice questions posed there based on the passage we have read. Once we have answered a minimum of two questions right (otherwise it will ask us to go back) we click on the ‘Go To Results’ button. This action takes us to the next page which tells us how many of the questions we answered right, and the page shows a ‘Continue’ button for us to click. On clicking the button the next page opens which tells us our speed reading rate in words per minute. The page also displays our speed reading standing in relation to the national average as a percentage higher or lower than the national average.
After the result, the test provides an interesting piece of information in relation to our reading speed, for which we are told ‘Scroll to see how your score compares,’ and a ‘Next Page’ button is provided. When we click the button we are taken to the next page where we are told how fast (in hours and minutes) we can read a book if we maintained our tested reading speed. The usefulness of this facility is shown by the number of popular books that are displayed, which include a variety of books covering all genres and page counts, on clicking the ‘Prev’ or ‘Next’ button on the page.
The Staples test is an extremely simple and user-friendly test that helps us to test our reading speed and conveys the results in a very understanding way that is at once empathetic. The test is so simple to administer that we can repeat the test a number of times with different passages, and we probably can average out the results ourselves.
The readingsoft.com website is another resource that offers speed reading test.
The readingsoft.com website offers a very simple test for us to administer. There is a passage at the beginning of which is a ‘Start’ button and at the end of the passage there is a ‘Stop’ button. There are simple instructions to follow for the test to be administered.
Once we begin the test and read through and stop the test, the result of our reading speed is displayed in a box as words per minute. Next, the test seeks to test our comprehension, and we click on the hyperlinked ‘comprehension test.’
Here, the test takes us through eleven multiple choice questions and seeks our answers. Once we have finished the comprehension test, we click on the ‘Click here’ button to calculate our comprehension score, which is displayed as a percentage of the correct answers on a total of eleven questions.
The test’s starting web page gives an idea of the range of typical speed reading test results possible as well as an idea of the reader profiles.
The ReadingSoft test is an absolute no brainer. It is a very quick and easy way of testing our reading speed. We can also test our comprehension. The drawback in this test is that it can be done once only as the passage is the same through repeated tests, which could help us to substantially increase our score. If someone among us is not honest with ourselves, we end up getting a totally incorrect assessment of our reading speed.
The free reading test from AceReader is an excellent test that offers us a wide range of passages to choose from. The passages are from five categories (General, American History, Earth and Space Science, Famous People and Fun Facts). The passages have thirteen text complexity levels. Within each text complexity level, there are three passages to choose from. This test offers a total of 195 passages of varying complexity for us to choose from.
The no frill testing template is plain and workmanlike. Convenient buttons allow us to make our choice for the passage. Once we have made the choice we click on the ‘Begin’ button to start the test and the blank template is populated with our choice of the passage. When we finish reading we click on the ‘Done Reading’ button, which leads us to the questions page. After answering four multiple choice questions, we click on the ‘Done’ button to get the actual answers to the questions along with our answers. In this page, we click on the ‘View Results’ button to get our reading speed displayed as words per minute and our comprehension as a percentage.
The speed reading test from AceReader is a wonderful resource to test our reading speeds in different genres of our reading. With 195 passages to choose from, this test can be used by all kinds of readers. More importantly, this test gives us the flexibility to test our own reading speeds when we read different kinds of reading material.
The myReadSpeed.com website provides an extremely easy test to measure the speed of our reading. The website’s homepage is dedicated to the reading speed template which exhorts us to click the ‘Calculate your reading speed’ button. On clicking the button we see a new page, which gives us instructions to calculate the reading speed. We can choose from ten different books and the website selects a passage from the book. We click on the ‘START RECORDING’ button and start reading the passage that appears. When we finish reading we click on the ‘STOP RECORDING,’ which takes us to the result page where the reading speed is displayed as words per minute. The page also offers to help us understand our speed of reading by letting us know in how many days we can finish reading each of the ten books if we read that book with our tested speed for just 60 minutes a day.
Calculating the reading speed in the myreadspeed.com website is absolutely single-minded and it is meant for those of us who want to read literature. This test does not test our comprehension simply because it is a novel we are reading, and we, as readers, can get the gist of the novel only when we read the full novel at our comfortable reading speed.
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) website, http://projects.wsj.com/speedread/, provides a nice test to measure our reading speed and comprehension. The website’s speedread page provides instructions to begin the test. On clicking the play button the website selects a passage from the WSJ and once we finish reading we click on the ‘Done’ button, which takes us to the ‘Reading Score’ page where the reading speed is given as words per minute. The result is displayed in a graphical (Bell curve) manner, which is visually pleasing. We then click on the ‘Test your comprehension’ button to go to the quiz section, which seeks answers to multiple choice questions. The test ends here with answers to the quiz immediately provided without any percentages.
The WSJ reading speed test is perfect for those of us who read newspapers regularly. We can use this test to quickly assess our reading speeds for newspapers and look at steps to be taken to improve our reading speed.
When we look at the five-speed reading tests we have reviewed, we get a fair idea of the kind of tests available online. We have tests that offer us simple ways to measure our reading speed and comprehension. We have also information as to the averages prevailing in our society to determine whether we are slow readers or fast readers. If we feel we are slow, the websites also offer us resources whom we can tap to help us to improve our reading speeds.