Most online articles, newspaper articles, or college essays are right around 1,000 words in length.
This length tends to offer a complete amount of information without getting too bogged down in details.
How long it takes someone to read 1,000 words depends on a number of factors, and knowing how these factors affect your audience can help you gauge what article length you should use.
How long does it take to read 1,000 words?
Most average readers read about 250 words every minute. This means that it will take an average reader about four minutes to read an entire 1,000-word article word for word.
However, as people get more involved in reading an article or essay, they often speed up, so the reading time for a 1,000-word article is usually closer to three and a half minutes.
If the article is read aloud, it takes longer, and the reading time can double.
There are also several things to take into account when figuring out how fast your audience will read a 1,000-word piece.
Reading level affects reading speed more than any other factor.
According to irisreading.com, the average reader reads at about 250 words per minute, but not everyone is average.
People with a lower reading level or comprehension level will read more slowly, taking time to sound out words or understand what they’re reading.
People who read regularly have lots of practice at reading, so they generally read much faster, and will therefore read 1,000 words in less time than three or four minutes.
How the article is written can also change reading times.
If the article or essay is written at a high reading level, even average readers might read a bit more slowly than usual.
If it’s written at a grade school reading and comprehension level, most people will read it more quickly.
Article or book topic
What the essay or article is about and how that relates to the person reading it can change how fast they read.
Someone who’s reading a fun article on something that interests them tends to read more quickly.
More complex articles on subjects that aren’t as interesting or fun tend to take more time, both because the reader isn’t as invested and because they need to slow down to better absorb the new information the piece is presenting.
Skimming or Scanning
Skimming and scanning are both techniques that some readers use to read more quickly.
Skimming is when readers let their eyes dart over the sentences.
Using this technique, readers won’t read every individual word, but their brain will be able to absorb most of the pertinent information.
Scanning is very similar to reading.
When readers are scanning, they generally allow their eyes to scan down the center of the text.
A reader who’s scanning will pick out keywords to glean what the article or essay is about and what it’s saying.
Skimming and scanning can both save a lot of time when it comes to reading, so a reader may be able to read 1,000 words in a minute or less.
However, readers who use these techniques tend to absorb and understand only a fraction of the information presented.
On the other hand, readers who skim or scan an article or essay and then go back and read the entire thing usually absorb much more information, and retain more of that information, than someone who simply read the piece without skimming first.
Many people sub-vocalize words as they read. This is almost like reading out loud, but it’s very quiet, and many people may not even realize they’re doing it.
However, because it takes longer to say words out loud than it does for the brain to comprehend and read them, sub-vocalizing can greatly slow reading times.
Readers who want to improve their reading speed may need to be vigilant of their sub-vocalizations and learn to only read the words without saying or mouthing them.
The pointer method is a speed reading technique that helps to guide the eyes and brain along as you read.
Using this technique, people will use a finger, pen, pointer, or another object to keep pace with the words as they read, dragging the pointer along under each sentence.
This technique can actually greatly improve reading time as it focuses both the eyes and the brain.
Readers who want to read more quickly can also use an index card or a piece of paper as a ‘pointer.’ Covering the sentences below where you’re currently reading helps the brain focus even more.
To increase focus even more, you can use a piece of paper or your hand to cover what you’ve already read.
These techniques both stop your eyes from moving around on the page, keeping you on track, which can greatly improve your reading speed.