The average reading speed for adults in Canada is currently about 9,000 words per hour.
The average for children is 6,000, and the average for high school students is 4,000.
For most of those students, the average reading speeds are between 10,000 and 12,000 word per hour, or about 10 to 20 per cent slower than the average.
That is according to a study published Monday in the journal Science that looked at the reading speed of 7,000 high school English students in the province of British Columbia, as well as the reading speeds of 4,500 high school French students.
“We found that the reading comprehension of the average high school student in B.C. is significantly higher than that of their Canadian counterparts,” said lead author Dr. Sarah Stier, an assistant professor at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia.
“While our study only measures reading comprehension, our findings suggest that reading comprehension is a key component of student achievement.”
It’s important to remember that reading speed is a relatively low-quality measure of reading comprehension.
But it is important to note that this is a generalizable finding that can be applied to other areas of literacy, such as mathematics and science.
“The study found that reading speeds in B, B.ca and BCEd are about 4 per cent faster than those of their non-English-speaking counterparts.
Reading speeds in Quebec, for example, are about 10 per cent quicker than that in the rest of Canada.
The authors also found that those students who read at an average speed of 8,500 word per second on average were also about 1.5 per cent more intelligent than their non English-speaking peers.
The study used a standardization algorithm that looked for the difference between the reading and comprehension speeds of each group of students.
It also looked at which of the students had a higher average reading comprehension score, and compared the average literacy skills of those who had higher reading comprehension scores with the average skills of students who did not have such a score.
The average reading performance of students in B., BCEd and BCInca provinces was found to be around the same as that of other countries, with the exception of the province with the lowest reading speeds, Saskatchewan.
The study did not look at reading speeds for other provinces.
Dr. Stier said she hopes that the study can serve as a benchmark for reading comprehension across the country.”
The more we can understand the different regions of the country, the more we might be able to take this into account in our policy and program development,” she said.
The findings will also be interesting to other academics.”
If we can use this information to improve reading comprehension in schools and to help improve reading performance in schools, it could help schools in our own province,” Dr. Stiers said.
For the full report, including an interactive map of the study, click here.