Reading is that one activity that we do every day but we don't really practice. Most people learn the basics of reading in kindergarten and never graduate to the next levels. You are probably using the same basic rudimental tools and techniques that you learned when you were 6. The average American person reads at an average speed of 180 to 240 words per minute and has done so since he was 16 years old. Does it make sense that we hit our best performance at age 16 and that we don't improve much after that? Storyline Online.