Does Reading Speed Matter?

When learning to read, we start by sounding out letters, putting them together, and gradually working our way up to full words. Then we make sentences. As our fluency grows and we continue to expand as readers, we are put into categories. Some of us were accepted into accelerated reading courses, while others remained in the normal course. Some of us could read a book in a day, while others couldn’t. But does the speed at which you read matter? Personally, I think that the rate at which you read doesn’t; what’s important is reading comprehension. 

Image courtesy of Giphy

You may be a fast reader, but are you retaining all of the information? Sometimes if you’re breezing through things, you don’t catch everything. But what if you’re a slow reader? Maybe you read slowly because you aren’t comprehending the content. When something isn’t familiar to you, you automatically have to slow down to try and understand it. 

On the contrary, you may be a slow reader who is deeply understanding and remembering every single detail. The same could be said about fast readers. Reading speed is thus an infication of… how how fast you read. It is not an indicator of intelligence!

The answer to the question, “Does reading speed matter?” is not straighfoward: Yes and no. It all depends on the person and the reasoning behind the speed. For some children, when learning to read, speed and comprehension may indicate an issue that a teacher or specialist needs to address. 

If you’re using your reading speed to brag, maybe you should reconsider. For example if you say that you read 4 books this week, and someone else could only finish one, that doesn’t necessarily mean the fast reader is a better reader. Someone could have a lot more free time to read than the other person. In short, reading speed matters on the one hand if there’s a problem with comprehension. On the other hand, it doesn’t, because there are a lot of factors that could affect someone’s reading speed.

What do you think? Does reading speed matter? Why or why not? 


Featured image courtesy of TV Tropes.