Reading is a wonderful activity and a necessary skill to have, yet most people don’t realize that reading is a skill like any other skill. This means you can improve your reading and read better. One aspect of reading is the speed at which you read.
How many pages should you read per hour? The short answer is 40-50 pages per hour, as this is the average speed at which people read. However, this varies depending on the purpose of your reading, how often you read, and the type of material you’re reading.
All of these factors affect your reading quality as well as speed. Knowing when to read fast and when to read slow is important to gain the most out of your reading—whether you choose to read for leisure and fun or if you’re reading for work-orientated reasons.
Why Does Reading Speed Matter?
If you’re reading this then you read something every day, even if you don’t realize it. You read text messages, labels, emails, or books and magazines. Reading is all around us whether we like it or not.
Yet, reading is more important than we may initially think. Reading provides knowledge and understanding, and so often words are said to be able to make necessary changes in society. Think of the famous quote, “The pen is mightier than the sword” by author Edward Bulwer-Lytton.
There’s no point in having powerful words with no one to read them. So often, it’s the reader who gets impacted by the words to get up and make the necessary changes. These words are not always found in shorthand, and often, these few sentences of magic are tucked away in books hiding in the chapters.
In society today, we’re so glued to technology that we’re constantly reading shorthand and one-liner messages; we may tend to skip over anything that includes a lot of text.
This is largely due to our attention spans reducing because of social media. Thus we must read more, and by reading more, that means books, textbooks, and large bodies of text filled with knowledge.
Reading more may require you to read faster to prevent yourself from sticking to one book for too long and getting bored and distracted. However, speeding through text is also not conducive for learning.
Average Speeds of Reading
The average reading speed of 40-50 pages per hour is based on various factors including:
- Your reading material
- Your purpose for reading
- Your reading habits
If your reading material is highly factual and relies on deep thinking into the subjects you’re reading and how they relate to life, you’re likely to read a lot slower than when you’re reading a casual story.
The more you read, the faster you’ll be able to read, even when you’re dealing with information-heavy material. This is helpful when you need to get through a lot of reading for work or just to learn more about life in general.
However, this does not include the quick text messages and emails you’re reading throughout the day. These are mostly cutting into your more important reading time. There are plenty of reasons why reading books are important; each year, you should set yourself reading goals for these reasons.
To increase your goal each time and aim for more reading you may need to hasten your reading above the average reading times. According to Forbes, the average reader can read 300 words per minute (wpm).
Here is a more detailed understanding of reading times for different readers. This is based on average book pages which usually contained roughly 500 words per page.
|Page Count||Slow Reader|
|1 page||4 minutes||1.7 minutes||1.1 minutes|
|10 pages||40 minutes||16.7 minutes||11.1 minutes|
|50 pages||3.3 hours||1.4 hours||55.6 minutes|
|100 pages||6.7 hours||2.8 hours||1.9 hours|
|1,000 pages||66.7 hours||27.8 hours||18.5 hours|
Adapted from source
Find video 1 here.
Are You a Fast or Slow Reader?
At first, the difference between 4 minutes (slow reader) and 1.1 minutes (fast reader) doesn’t seem so vast until you realize it could take you close to three days to read 1,000 words, or if you hone your skills you can read the same in less than one day.
To determine your pace of reading is fairly simple. First, you need to choose your reading material, and be sure to read as you normally would when doing this exercise. Trying to read faster than usual will defeat the purpose.
Firstly, set up your timer for one minute. Start reading at your usual pace and don’t check the time. Once the time is up calculate the number of words you read. This can be done by:
- Count the words in four of the lines you read.
- Divide this number by 4 to get an average of words per line.
- Count the number of lines you read.
- Then, multiply the number of lines by the average words per line.
This will give you your average number of words per minute, and you can multiply this by 60 to get the approximate number of words you can read in an hour.
Fast Is Not Necessarily Better Than Slow
While your reading times can be improved by reading regularly, reading fast is not necessarily important for gaining more knowledge. If you try to read too fast and end up skimming through the text, you’re not likely to understand what you’re reading.
Intense speed reading often requires you to skim through the pages, but most human brains are incapable of making much sense of a blur of words and require comprehension of each sentence to understand the material.
Unless you have a super focused photographic memory, it’s nearly impossible to remember everything you’re reading if you’re flying through the words. Even speed readers competing in global championships can only boast a 50% comprehension rate of the 2, 000 words they can read per minute.
How to Read Faster
While you can aim to increase your speed to above average, there really is no point in overexerting yourself to reach extreme speeds. However, if you are on the slower side of reading, here are a few tips to get through more books and reading material.
The most important tip here is to simply read more. The more you read—books and informational texts—the more your brain will get used to reading. Naturally, you’ll find yourself reading faster and reading more.
Other tips include:
- Finding a quiet place devoid of distractions while reading
- Avoid re-reading sentences that don’t hold too much importance
- Set a timer along with some reading goals for yourself
Find video 2 here.
Set Your Reading Goals
Goals are the best place to start when you want to improve any aspect of your life, and reading is the same. These goals are important due to the enormous benefits of reading books.
According to Healthline, reading strengthens your brain, builds your vocabulary, reduces stress, and helps you to sympathize more, among many other benefits.
Set your goals by deciding how many books you’d like to read per year and what type of subjects you would like to read about, both fiction and nonfiction. Once you have these, narrow them down to how many you need to read per month and then how many pages per day.
Write these goals where you can see them every day to motivate yourself.
How to Read Better
Just read more. Okay, it isn’t that simple, but that really is the most important point. Read, read, and then read some more. Beyond that, you can do a lot more to keep improving your reading.
First, find the right book. There is no point forcing yourself to read something that is just not interesting to you. Choose a book to keep yourself hooked. Also, if you begin a book and it’s just not for you, leave it for the time being. You may come back to it at a later stage and end up loving it.
Finding a comfortable spot to read in without distractions. Remember that distractions are subjective so if you can immerse yourself in a book while sitting in a noisy cafe, then by all means do it.
Lastly, feel what you are reading by allowing the book to speak to you. You can also discuss the book with someone afterward to decipher deeper meanings within the book.
Find video 3 here.
How Many Pages Should You Read per Hour FAQ
Can you read a book in a day?
This will depend on your reading speed, the number of pages inside the book, and the amount of reading time you have during the day to set aside for reading. Determine your speed, and match it to the book you’d like to read in one day.
How many pages of a book should you read each day? The more the better, however, this isn’t very practical. According to Bustle, who quotes a study, the sweet spot is 30 minutes of reading each day to live longer than those who read less. This means roughly 20 pages each day will be beneficial.
So we know the speed you’re reading at will definitely help you fit more of your favorite books into your daily routine, but be sure you’re comprehending the material you’re reading to get the most out of your books.
Now, since you’ve spent a few minutes reading this article, it wasn’t the whole 30 minutes for today, so go grab your book and get reading!