Reading Speed Assessment

The Wilkins Rate of Reading Test involves reading text that looks like a passage of prose, but consists of random words. It is designed to measure the effects on reading of visuo-perceptual distortions of text, such as apparent movement of words and letters, blurring or text and coloured haloes; symptoms commonly reported in patients with visual dyslexia, Mears-Irlen Syndrome or other types of visual stress.

The test is not a conventional reading test in which the words become progressively more difficult. Such tests usually compare an individual’s performance with that of other individuals of a similar age and therefore express the performance in terms of a ‘reading age’. Using the Wilkins Rate of Reading test allows reading ability to be assessed in terms of rate and errors rather than the difficulty of the words to read. The words used are very high frequency in the English language and should be familiar and within the reading vocabulary of children aged 7 and above.

The individual is required to read the text aloud as rapidly as possible. The optometrist times this process and notes any errors. This process allows a comparison of an individual’s reading performance under different visual circumstances, for example with and without coloured overlays, or with and without specially tinted spectacle lenses.

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