Minimum Reading speed  of 60 words a minute required in order to comprehend


A World Bank paper, just out (see link), says that  ‘The failure of education reforms to achieve the goal of quality is partly attributable to absence of  instruments and procedures that provide information to key consumers – namely teachers,  administrators, policy makers but especially students and their families – on students’ learning.’  Its no crime to state the blindingly obvious.

It then goes on to make an arresting  , if less well known, point that could be of real  interest and utility  to these ‘key consumers’ . Apparently experts know the speed of reading required for a child to make sense of what they are reading. The paper states ‘ Take a typical example: studies indicate that students should read a minimum of one word per  second, 60 words per minute on the average. If they do not read at this speed, they forget the content as they read, and by the end of the sentence they will not remember what they read at the beginning. So comprehension will not actually occur (Abadzi 2006, 2008).

The paper makes the valid point that the results might  be rather different if a student’s reading skills were monitored against the corresponding standards.  And then the pace, content and methods of instruction could be adjusted accordingly. But how many parents and teachers actually know this rather important piece of information? Self-evidently  it could have a major impact on a child’s standard of reading and overall performance and learning progress.



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