Friday, September 30, 2016

The Correlation Between Students’ Reading Speed and Students’ Reading Comprehension


In this study the researcher studied whether or not there was a correlation between an individual’s reading speed and their reading comprehension. The paper was written for a thesis at a University in Indonesia where students study English as a second language. With this study, the author sought to better gauge how students were progressing in their language skills.

The author reviewed his University’s English program and identified the types of reading skills students were being taught. Skimming and scanning reading skills were heavily emphasized as important to language comprehension and fluency. The author states in the beginning of the paper the importance of speed reading in the development of language skills because of the increased ability to consume more information and language familiarity in a shorter amount of time.


The author tested 24 students in their fourth semester in the University’s English department. All participants in the study had completed two of the schools English reading courses. The participants were all asked to read a paper and take a comprehension test following. Reading speed was tracked by setting time limits on the readings and tracking how many words a participant was able to read.

After the tests, the author then compared individual participants’ reading speeds with their scores. The author tested the distribution of the test scores and reading scores to see if it was within normal range or if a significant correlation existed. The results were corrected for potential errors and tested to see if the relationship held statistical significance.


The author found from the study that the scores and reading speed of the students fit a normal distribution and relationships between an individual participant’s reading speed was not significantly correlated with their reading comprehension.


The sample size that the author used was very small and the method of testing was limited in its capability in providing accurate results.  The author should have created a better way to measure reading speed as the method used cannot provide enough accuracy as it is not fully verifiable. The results however are somewhat interesting in that if reading speed and comprehension are not correlated (whether positively or negatively) then this could imply that readers could reasonably increase their reading speed and therefore their ability to consume more information in a shorter span of time without significant loss in comprehension. However the results of the testing is significantly limited as none of the participants were being tested in their primary language.

Datunsolang A. (2014) The correlation between students’ reading speed and students’ reading comprehension (Thesis). State University of Gorontalo, Gorontalo, Indonesia. Retrieved from:


  1. Knowing that everyone functions differently in everything conceivable, and even in something like reading, how, or even can, this be transferred to a practical application? A practical application being an analytical team?

    1. From your question Ruark, and from the two studies I did this past week, I think in the form of application with analytic teams it comes to efficiency and time. First what must be defined is the focus area? This will then specialize the knowledge needed. In the form of analytic teams you pull from your entire workforce on who has specialized knowledge in the area of concern, and pull them into the team. The reason behind this is those with an already established knowledge base can provide more accurate forecasting and skim reading results than making people learn a subject they know nothing about. Thus allowing time to be saved if time is the pressure, which it usually is in business for time is money. Studies have proven that the larger the lexicon someone has and the more knowledge they have on a particular topic, the faster they can consume knowledge while maintaining comprehension in that particular area of study.

  2. Interesting study conducted here. I like the premise of comparing words per minute to comprehension of material to see if any correlation exists. It seems odd that they would use a secondary language group as the test subjects. Did the authors mention why they chose to do it that way instead of just testing speed reading with the subjects primary language? I feel like students in the process of learning a second language don't have the fluidity to read and comprehend at a rate that would allow for increased speed. I remember taking Spanish classes and would feel overwhelmed when having to listen to or read text in Spanish under time constraints. I know I had to slow way down. If I were then told to read even faster, I'm confident my retention of subject matter would drop to almost zero.