Reading Speed vs. Comprehension

Again, I digress…

Today, I was directed toward an interesting test for reading speed. If you would like to take it, you can find it here:

ereader test
Source: Staples eReader Department

What I found most interesting is that this test doesn’t measure comprehension at all. It tells you not to skim read, so let’s assume everyone reads all the words and sounds out any they don’t know. Just because you read all the words, doesn’t mean you understand any of them. You can have a perfectly confident reader, well-schooled in phonics but lacking knowledge of comprehension strategies, who would score highly on this test.

It’s possible that I’m a little peeved about being told I read more slowly than the average college student, (fairly unlikely, I’d say I’m at least average) but I can guarantee that I comprehend the text that I’m reading or stop to make it comprehensible. That is essential to being a good reader.

Good readers do need to have some speed. If you don’t have fluency, the words won’t make sense; they’ll appear to be unrelated to each other if pauses between them are too great. Still, I stand by comprehension. If you take this test and don’t score well, don’t feel bad. The test is the product of not understanding the complexity of reading. Speed is great, but comprehension must come first.


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