Literacy Information and Communication System

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

  1. Select a short, easy 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 test, choose a passage one or two GEs below his/her Word Recognition GE. The purpose here is to see how easily someone can read orally when she/he doesn't have to pause to decode unfamiliar words.
  2. Count the words in the passage.
  3. Have the 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 now you are going to time the reading. The learner will read fast and may not pay any attention to punctuation. That's all right.
  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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