Saturday, October 25, 2014

{Book Discussions} How Fast Can You Read?

I first seen this test taken by Miranda at Tempest Books and thought it would be a cool idea to see what my results would be and discuss what I thought of the test.  Check out her test results, as well as what she thought of the test!

Today I took the Staples Reading Speed Test, which determines how many words you can read per minute and what your reading level is compared to the average reader.  I thought that this test would be really fun and interesting to take, but then I got my score.   

There were three reading tests to take, in which I scored a 285 WPM (14% faster than the national average) on the first one, a 326 WPM (30% faster than the national average) on the second one, and 351 WPM (40% faster than the national average).  

Now, those scores are pretty good considering I scored higher than average, but there is also a scale that determines what your reading level is.  On my fastest time, I read at an 11th grade reading level and on my slowest reading time, I read at about a 9th grade reading level and was under average for most adults.  This was particularly alarming to me because I am a recent college graduate with a Bachelors in Psychology.  I thought I would not score really high, but I thought I would at least score within an average college level reader.

Knowing that this reading test was created by Staples (retailer of office products) I would not really call this test super accurate.  The three tests featured different reading material, which seemed to differ in word count and density.  The tests also featured a question portion at the end of each test, but these questions could have been easily guessed.  The second reading test material comes from Alice in Wonderland, which made the question pertaining to what the rabbit pulled out of his vest easy to answer even if I had not read the material. 

As you can see from above, my test scores got better as the tests progressed.  I think this was because I got more into the rhythm of reading, thus making me a faster reader.  I did like that they also added a section where it would tell you how long it would take you to finish certain books at your reading level.

From my slowest reading time (285 WPM), the test determined it would take me:

34 Hours & 21 Minutes to read War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

4 Hours & 30 Minutes to read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

27 Hours and 59 Minutes to read The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

10 Hours and 11 Minutes to read Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

7 Hours and 55 Minutes to read A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

6 Hours and 19 Minutes to read Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Also, the test tells you how many books you can read on different eReaders before they need to be recharged.  This test was obviously made to advertise for eReaders.

So with all that being said, I wanted to discuss if reading speed really matters?  Personally, I don’t think it does.  I think the most important thing about reading (other than enjoyment) is to understand the material that you are reading.  You can be the fastest reader, but unless you can understand what you are reading, it does not really do you any good.  As a book reviewer, it is always looked as a good thing to be able to read tons of books and produce several reviews a week.  I am starting to realize that the more books a zip through a week, the less enjoyment and content I get out of reading.  I think that I want to start focusing on enjoying reading and analyzing the books that I am reading, rather than trying to finish them as fast as I can.

Are you going to take the Staples Reading Test and what are your feelings about rating reading speeds?

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