The Rate of Reading Test is designed to
measure the effects on reading of visuo-perceptual
distortions of text, such as apparent movement of the words and letters, blurring
and coloured halos. Patients are required to read text that looks like a
passage of prose, but consists of random words. The reading is independent of
syntactic and semantic constraints but requires all the usual visual and visuo-perceptual processing.
The Rate of Reading Test is used to compare
an individual's performance under one set of visual conditions with that under
another. For example, the test might be used to compare the effects on reading
with and without coloured overlays. The effects of coloured overlays on reading
fluency are reviewed elsewhere.
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 similar
age, and express the performance in terms of a 'reading age'. In the Rate of
Reading Test, reading ability is assessed in terms of rate and errors rather
than in terms of the difficulty of the words read. All the words are of very
high frequency in the English language and should be familiar to children of
age 7 and above, as well as adults.
The individual is required to read the text
aloud as rapidly as possible. The reading is timed and errors are noted.
Multiple versions of the test are available
so that the reading of equivalent passages can be assessed under different
Performance of the Rate of Reading Test is
reliable on retest. Re-test scores can be expected to be within
15% of the first test. Scores are not strongly correlated with age in the range 7yrs-12yrs,
even though fast readers read 4 times more quickly than slow. Among 7-8 year
olds the correlation with the Young's Reading Test is 0.5, and among 11 year
olds the correlation with the London Reading Test is 0.4.
There is no evidence that individuals who read faster do so because they tolerate a
greater number of errors. In general, the conditions that give rise to errors
also give rise to slower reading (Wilkins et al., 1996).
A.J. , Jeanes, R.J., Pumfrey, P.D. and Laskier, M.
(1996). Rate of Reading Test: its reliability, and its validity in the
assessment of the effects of coloured overlays. Ophthalmic and Physiological
Optics, 16, 491-497.
Jeanes, R., Busby, A., Martin, J.,
Lewis, E., Stevenson, N., Pointon, D., and Wilkins A.J. (1997). Prolonged use of coloured overlays for classroom reading. British
Journal of Psychology, 88, 531-548.
The following instructions on
administration concern the test published by ioo
Marketing. This has four versions, and the testing can be given with, without,
without and again with the overlay, so as to balance the effects of practice.
The effects of practice are now known to be
maximal on the first test and minimal thereafter. An alternative procedure,
suggested in "
reading test can only be given to patients who can correctly read the words
printed in large type. Ask the patient to read aloud all the words printed in
large type. If there are errors, correct them, and ask the patient to re-read
the words. If the patient continues to make errors, stop the test at this
2. Tell the patient the task is to read a
passage with just these words in. (S)he has to read
the words aloud as quickly as possible without errors.
3. Choose Version A of the test with the
small typeface, unless the patient is unable to read it, or it causes pain.
4. Note the patient's name, date of
testing, and the preferred overlay colour on the score sheet.
5. Place the preferred overlay on the text.
6. Start a stopwatch as you instruct the
patient to begin.
7. As the patient reads, note each error by
marking the score sheet above the word that is misread. Use any marking system
that suits you.
8. Stop the patient after 1 minute and mark
the score sheet with an oblique line ( / ) to indicate
how far (s)he read. If (s)he finishes the passage
before the minute is up, then note how many seconds were taken to read the
It is difficult to watch the time and note
the errors. Keep the stopwatch where you can see it out of the corner of your
Most of the errors will occur when readers
lose their place and skip or repeat words or lines. Other errors will be
intrusions that may subsequently be corrected.