Measuring Braille reading speed with the MNREAD test

Gordon E. Legge, C. Madison, J. S. Mansfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Braille is an important form of written communication for many visually disabled people. Perceptual factors limiting Braille reading speed are poorly understood, partly because of the lack of accurate, standardized testing methods. In this paper, we describe a new, standardized method for measuring Braille reading speed, adapted from the MNREAD test for print reading speed. The key principles include the use of well-characterized text samples composed of simple vocabulary, presented in a standard spatial layout, with sample length measured as the number of characters. We used the MNREAD test to study Braille reading speed in 44 experienced participants. The median reading speed was 124 words per minute, equivalent to 7.5 characters per sec. When measured in words per minute, Grade 1 reading speed was 71.5% of Grade 2 reading speed. This difference could be accounted for by the difference in the number of characters. This finding argues for the use of characters per sec as an appropriate metric for measuring Braille reading speed. A comparison of Braille and print reading speed shows that when viewing conditions are matched (i.e., only one character available at a time) and the methods of measurement are the same, the characteristics of reading speed are qualitatively and quantitatively similar.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-145
Number of pages15
JournalVisual Impairment Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1999


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