At the start of the term, ask each learner to read the first three pages of a suitably leveled book.

1. Ask them to start at the same time and read at normal speed.
2. They mark in soft pencil where they got to after 5 minutes
3. They count the total number of words in 3 lines or contiguous text and divide by 3 to get the average number of words per line.
4. They count the average number of lines for a full page (on with no images) taking into account there will be paragraph breaks and spaces.
5. 3 x 4 = The number of words for an average page
6. They count the number of pages of text (minus the images) they read – so if a student read 4 pages but there was one page with 60% as one image, they deduct the 0.6 of a page or 4.0 – 0.6 = 3.4 pages.
7. They multiply 5 by the number of pages they read (e.g. 230 words per page x 3.4 pages = 989 words read
8. The divide this by the 5 minutes to get their speed  = 198 words per minute

They can record today’s speed on a chart such as this.  If you wish you can get them to estimate their average percentage comprehension weight and adjust the number of words per minute by that. See the example.  Click to download the PDF. 