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Description: Based on the analysis of 190 studies (18,573 participants), we estimate that the average silent reading rate for adults in English is 238 word per minute (wpm) for non-fiction and 260 wpm for fiction. The difference can be predicted by the length of the words, with longer words in non-fiction than in fiction. The estimates are lower than the numbers often cited in scientific and popular writings. The reasons for the overestimates are reviewed. Reading rates are lower for children, old adults, and readers with English as second language. The reading rates are in line with maximum listening speed and do not require the assumption of reading-specific language processing. The average oral reading rate (based on 77 studies and 5,965 participants) is 183 wpm. Within each group/task there are reliable individual differences, which are not yet fully understood. For silent reading of English fiction most adults fall in the range of 175 to 300 wpm; for fiction the range is 200 to 320 wpm. Reading rates in other languages can be predicted reasonably well be taking into account the number of words these languages require to convey the same message as in English.


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