Literacy Information and Communication System

How to Calculate Oral Reading Rate

You will need:

Oral reading rate is most often given as the number of words read correctly in one minute (wpm). It is found by a straight forward method that can be applied to any GE level passage. Follow these steps:

  1. Select a reading passage that is one or two GEs below the learner's present oral reading GE level. If you have not given a graded oral reading mastery test, chose a passage one or two GEs below their Word Recognition GE. The purpose is to see how fast a learner can read material that is at their independent reading level.


  2. Count the words in the passage.


  3. Have learner read the passage once through orally so that both of you can see that there are no troublesome words.


  4. Tell the learner to read the passage once more, but that this time you are going to time the reading.

  5. Record the time in seconds and compute the following:

words per minute = (number of words in passage ÷ reading time (in seconds)) x 60

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