Fun online reading speed test from the WSJ

Thank reddit for sharing a fun online reading speed and comprehension tool from The Wall Street Journal. I just took the test because I like to say I’ve done everything I ask my students to do, and since they shared their results with me I’ll share mine.


That was taking my time and being careful.   I tried their tips and worked to increase my speed, to disastrous results.



Speed, beyond 200 words per minute or so, I don’t think makes that much difference.  This felt unnatural, because I couldn’t annotate, comment on, or take notes.   I’m reminded of a Woody Allen quip:

 I took a speed reading course where you run your finger down the middle of the page and was able to read ‘War and Peace’ in twenty minutes. It’s about Russia. (cited in Mindel)

I wonder about the value  the test may have.

To my students  – I want to say, don’t let that I asked you to take a reading speed test lead you to infer that speed is that important. Beyond a minimum speed necessary for the brain to move short term memory to long term memory – reading speed is VASTLY over-rated.I want to have an informed and educated discussion with the class about literacy, language and what is and is not important, and this potentially dubious online tool might facilitate such a discussion. I like what Dewey said about reification – the reduction of students to numbers. TL:DR – it’s dangerous and especially bad if we start comparing students to each other.

Work Cited

Mindell, Phyllis.  “War and Peace’ in 20 Minutes? If You Care What It Says, Read”  Editorial. The New York Times. 3 Sept 1995.  Web. 27 Jan. 2016 Link