There is no one answer to the question of how much you can read in an hour. It depends on many factors. Factors like reading intent, knowledge, and reading style influence your reading. Also, perfectionism, state of mind, and the difficulty of the book are important. This all combined gives us a range of 3 to 100 pages per hour.
During a workshop, there was a student adamant it was not possible to read more than 6 pages per hour. I asked him why this was so. He told me a study said this was the most pages people can study per hour. There was no way to show him that this was only a number! He was convinced this was his limit. Until this day… he doesn’t allow himself to read and study faster…
As I wrote before, many factors are influencing how fast you can read. Reading textbooks or study books is usually slower than reading for pleasure. After all, you want to understand and remember what you read.
Let’s investigate this in more detail and see how it affects you. Knowing what limits your reading speed is important. And please note, the most important thing about studying is not how many pages per hour you can read. It is all about how much knowledge and ideas you can get from your book.
Why Do I Read Textbooks So Slowly?
There are many factors determining how fast you read. I will discuss these below so you can become aware of them and use them to read smarter and faster.
Determine Your Reader Intent
One of the most important factors determining reading speed is reading intent. Are you studying or reading out loud for your child who lies in bed? I assume that studying might be your intent since we talk about that on this website. Will you read to inform yourself or do you want to know everything from your book to ace the exam?
How to Use Perfectionism In Reading
Do you want to know every little detail when reading? Do new or unfamiliar words stop you from going through a text? Perhaps you want to grab a dictionary or website to learn more about these words or ideas. This is limiting your reading speed and experience so much!
The solution to perfectionism is to use your perfectionism smarter. Go through a text a couple of times. Start without being a perfectionist (sounds scary, but just try it…). With each round of reading, increase your perfectionism. In the final round of reading, you can be as perfect as you need. I am sure you will not feel limited anymore!
Feeling Bored When Reading (try this)
When you read and you are not “into it”, you should change this attitude. Even boring texts can become interesting. You can try to find flaws in the text. Where does the author not explain ideas clearly? How would you improve the text?
Another way to deal with feeling bored is to read faster. That’s right! You and your brain might be bored because you know already too much about this topic. Read faster and give your brain more to do. This not only increases the number of pages per hour, but it makes reading more interesting.
The Language You Read In Determines Your Speed
This is perhaps too obvious, but we need to address it. What language are you reading in? If this is not your native language it makes it more difficult to read. You have to translate the words into your language and then you can understand.
Note that this is not the case for foreign languages only! When you are studying for example Python, but you are a construction worker or lawyer during the day… things may be difficult. Technical language or jargon may stop you from being a proficient reader. In the beginning, you may not be that fast going through your materials. When you learn to speak that language, your reading speed will increase 🙂
How Much Should You Be Able To Read In An Hour?
As a student, you can not measure your reading speed on the number of words you read. You are also taking notes. You want to understand what you are reading. You may have to use other resources to finish a page or chapter. This, and more, determine how many pages you can read per hour.
Research shows that students, people studying, or avid readers, in general, read faster. On average they read about 300 words per minute (wpm). Study books have between 250 and 500 words per minute. New books usually have more images so let’s say a study book has 300 words on a page.
Knowing the words on a page (about 300) and how fast you can read (300 wpm) should give you 1 page per minute. You could be reading 60 pages per minute. Let’s take into account the whole studying, understanding, and remembering part. After all, your intent is not to read a page, you want to learn something.
During my reading, I see that reading a page takes a minute (and a half). Then I have to take some notes and match them with my other notes (which takes 1 to 2 minutes). What I also have to do is re-read parts and reflect on them. This may take a minute or so as well. The time invested per page is between 4 and 6 minutes. This takes the average number of pages to read and study per hour from 60 to between 10 and 15 per hour.
Continue to read and learn how you can read more per hour…
How To Read More Per Hour
To read and study more pages per hour, you have to do a couple of things. It is more than a matter of reading faster. Sure, increasing your reading speed by 25-50% does help you read a few more pages per hour. But there are other things you can do.
Taking smart notes and creating a mind map to outline your information does help a lot. You have to remember what you study. Good notes do help. Another thing you have to invest time in is improving your memory tactics. Especially people who say they have a “bad memory”! I guarantee you that memory techniques are a life-changer!
I am sure that by using the right techniques and study routines you can increase your efficiency. Don’t think you can double your study output in a week or so. Take small steps and become a more efficient learner. I can help you with that if you like.
Reading a certain number of pages per hour is a nice benchmark for figuring out how much you can study per hour. But the reading part of studying is only part of the equation. You have to do a lot more. Taking notes, memorizing facts, and understanding what you read also take time. This gives you about 10 to 15 pages per hour to study.
Please note that this is an average number! You can be faster or slower. Know that you can increase the number of pages you can read per hour. Do this by using study routines, and techniques and by changing our mindset. The results can be amazing. Try it and share with me how many pages you study per hour!