Reading Fluency Assessment

Test Your Reading Speed and Fluency

This free reading speed test will help you understand how your student’s reading speed and accuracy, reading fluency, compares to other students in their grade level.

Directions Reading Speed Test (WPM)

Follow the steps below to test your child’s reading speed, fluency, and words-per-minute (wpm).

  1. Estimate the reading level of your student
    Do they seem to be at reading grade level, below grade level, or above grade level? If the test reading passage is frustrating, the level is too high.
  2. Print out the student and instructor reading passages
    • Your student will use the student version.
    • As a parent, teacher, tutor, or instructor, use the instructor version of the reading passage. The instructor copy has word counts on the right-hand side to make it easy to count the number of words read after the timed reading.
  3. Time your student for one minute while they read the passage aloud
    • Follow along with your printed instructor version. Mark any mistakes discreetly. You can tilt your paper up so that your student will not see you make any marks. If your student sees you react as they are reading, it will distract them and could give inaccurate results.
  4. Calculate the total number of words per minute your student reads and the total mistakes/errors
    Mistakes/errors are:
    • Mispronunciation or dropped endings
    • Skipped words (Skipped lines count as one mistake)
    • Omissions
    • Substitutions
    • Repeated words
    • Inserting words that are not there
    • Self-corrections
  5. If your child makes more mistakes or errors than marked below, you will want to try the level below the one you selected
    • 1st through 4th grade: 5 mistakes/errors
    • 5th through 8th grade: 6 mistakes/errors


Assessment After the Reading Speed and Fluency Test

Assess your child’s reading speed by comparing current reading speed rates (words-per-minute) by grade level. The chart below includes average reading fluency rates.

1st Grade (Spring)53 – 111wpm
2nd Grade (Spring)89 – 149wpm
3rd Grade (Spring)107 – 162wpm
4th Grade (Spring) 123 – 180wpm
5h Grade (Spring)139 – 194wpm
6th-8th Grade (Spring)150 – 204wpm
Hasbrouck, J. & Tindal, G. (2017)

Remember, there is no good or bad result. We expect kids to make mistakes. You may want to repeat the test with reading levels above and below to see if there are any major differences in the number of words read per minute and the number of mistakes or errors made.


How You Can Improve Your Reading Speed

Reading Fluency Training

Reading fluency drills are one of the best activities you can do to improve your reading fluency. With our custom-designed, phonetic-based drills, you work on improving the underlying brain processes of reading. When you do these drills, you target five areas of visual processing, six areas of auditory processing, and two areas of tactile-kinesthetic processing. This process also strengthens phonemic awareness and phonics skills at the same time. We do this in just 5-minutes a day and 3-5 days a week.

Scholar Within’s reading program has these reading fluency training drills built-in. This training has been custom designed to work on improving your eye tracking skills and speed up your visual processing skills.

Student Doing a Reading Speed Test Fluency Training Drill

Download Free Reading Drill

Download the first drill of our custom-designed reading fluency training. The first sets of words have extra space between the letters, highlighting or emphasizing the letter or letter combination being studied. In our program, the drills are organized according to phonic rules and letter combinations that are used in reading. Each drill builds upon prior drills, providing continual review and mastery of all concepts.

Reading Fluency Training

› Download the Free Reading Drill

Research Supports Reading Fluency

Students who read slowly typically have difficulty sounding out words, focusing, and attending to reading content. As a result, both their comprehension and writing skills are impacted.

Multiple studies by Palmer, Bashir, and Hook found a strong positive correlation between reading fluency, reading comprehension, and writing skills.

If a reader does not recognize words quickly enough, the meaning will be lost.

Reid Lyon, Ph.D., stated in 1997, “While the ability to read words accurately is a necessary skill in learning to read, the speed at which this is done becomes a critical factor in ensuring that children understand what they read. As one child recently remarked, ‘If you don’t ride a bike fast enough, you fall off.’ Likewise, if the reader does not recognize words quickly enough, the meaning will be lost… If the reading of the words on the page is slow and labored, the reader simply cannot remember what he or she has read, much less relate the ideas they have read about to their own background knowledge.”

A 2017 study by Taylor, Davis, and Rastle showed that learning to read by sounding out words (phonics) has a dramatic impact on both the accuracy of reading aloud and on comprehension. Researchers tested whether learning to read by sounding out words is more effective than focusing on whole-word meanings. Their results suggest that early literacy should focus on phonics (letters-to-sounds) rather than on teaching sight-word strategies (whole language approach).

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