To stay on topic, I think measuring Speed Reading in an actual contest within a controlled environment (by judges, witnesses and referees, like in WMC) is a much more accurate and reliable representation of the true Speed Reading human limit, rather than doing it in TV show; where we all know that there so many ‘set-ups’ which happen behind the scenes.
So, I have recently checked all the actual Speed Reading results of the recent Turkish Memoriads. (the reading test is taken in the Turkish language). For the record, ‘Turkish Memoriad’ is an annually-held competition similar to the 2 international Memoriads that have already taken place (in 2008 and 2012), but usually only Turkish competitors compete in the Turkish annual contest. Mr. Melik Duyar does a great job organising all those contests.
All the Speed Reading results for years 2008 until 2015 are located in this page:
There are listed 111 Speed Reading human competititors and there are their results/data from 6 Speed Reading competitions in the years '08, '09, '12, '13, '14 and '15,
To summarize the results: This may surpize you, negatively. Appararently the highest Speed Reading rate on record in all these years, in all competitions, is made by Mr. Mehmet Altunpinar in 2013 and it stands at 828 w.p.m. (words-per-minute) ( his actual reading speed was 1104 w.p.m. with an understanding of 75%, therefore 1104 * 0.75 = 828 w.p.m.).
I don’t wanna judge 828 w.p.m., since it is an excellent reading rate compared to your average folk. I only want to mention 2 more things:
It’s much less comfortable to speed read an unknown text at a competition, with the extra pressure of delivering a good result, rather than to speed read the text of your choice in your leisure at home. The same happens in WMC. Many competitors have much greater scores in their home training rather than in the actual WMC competition.
Having seen the actual 828 w.p.m. record, in all Speed Reading contests and given that Turkey is pool of about 80 million people, I estimate that inside a prospective international Speed Reading competition of let’s say 100 international highly motivated competitors, then the winner could probably have around 2K or 3K w.p.m.
Therefore, I want to lower my previous estimate of 4K per minute, to around 2K w.p.m. But let’s wait and see the actual results. Next year, there will be around 300 Memoriad competitors in Las Vegas, Memoriad 2016. But I don’t know how many will take up to sit for the Speed Reading task, because it is a relatively new one. In my opinion, anyone that will reach an actual 4K + w.p.m. (comprehension included) within a big competition, within a controlled environment, then he/she deserves to be mentioned as having an extraordinary ability
Finally, if you happen to see any other actual results of other Speed Reading competitions (from schools or universirties, within controlled environments) feel to share them. Thanks in advance!