What is Speed Reading

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Teaching Children to Speed Read and Accelerate Learning in an Adult World
by Laurie Richardson

Can children as young as seven or even younger really learn to speed read?

"Absolutely!" states George Stancliffe, author of Speed Reading 4 Kids. "The younger the better. Children have this uncanny ability to learn speed reading extremely fast and totally understand what they reading" (phone interview).

One of his mentors, a Dr. Vearl G. McBride, Ph.D. is a staunch advocate of teaching children to speed read as young as four or five years of age. McBride feels that slow reading is a waste of time and taxpayers money in the schools (McBride, 11).

Why is this? Well Stancliffe has much to say on this subject as well as a few other people in the speed reading field. Most seem to be educators of children and have done the research in person.

"A carpenter when given the right tools such as a hammer and screwdriver can get the job done. However, when given power tools the carpenter now has more speed, more power and much more versatility then ever before," explains Stancliffe. "This is much the same for teaching a young child to speed read. How much more can a child learn? The possibilities are endless" (phone interview).

How can people teach kids to speed read?

Well, though the resources are limited there are ways. My discovery was that most programs cater to teens and adults and cost to much. They are full of busywork and require a lot of time.

Personally, what kid would want that?

The "bare bones" was needed with less cost. Speed Reading 4 Kids seemed to fit the bill. It is based on a system that even people who could not speed-read could still use it to teach others.

What a gold mine!

My own children became the "guinea pigs."

The results were amazing. Within the first week my three oldest kids ages sixteen, fourteen and ten were reading between one thousand to two thousand five hundred words per minute and telling me all about all they had read.

Wow! Why aren't more families having their young kids learn this method of reading--mine were turning into geniuses. At first this may seem like a parent being overly proud and boastful but surely most good parents can see the usefulness of such a thing. Our children, these days, now have so much more to read and learn than any other generation. So much so that many give up and fail.

Why not give them a chance to succeed? Why must most speed reading programs only cater to adults who can afford hundreds of dollars to learn it when programs could be simplified, made cheaper, and taught to those who are the most eager to learn (and are our country's future)?

Not only did my own children learn to read faster but also other benefits have emerged as well in spelling, math and reading comprehension abilities.

Professionals have also seen benefits using speed reading for people with ADD, Dyslexia and also with stroke patients. Let's touch on the benefits of teaching children to speed read.

We all know that young children from the day they are born have a great capacity to quickly learn almost anything put before them. Isn't it said "If you wait for a child to turn five before you start to educate them you are five years too late" (McBride, 117). Most children are learning so quickly because they are still mostly right brain dominant. This is the side of the brain that memorizes, sees pictures, is artistic and copies.

If a person were to look out the window at a tree does one just see a leaf or does one see the whole tree and tell themselves in a picture about how green, brown, grainy, rough etc. it is (Speed Reading 4 Kids, 20). This is the right side of the brain that shows a person this information.

Unfortunately, this side of the brain begins to close down from lack of use at around fourteen to sixteen years of age. This is what makes teaching children speed reading while they are young such an important priority.

Speed reading is a technique that involves taking a picture of groups of words with the mind then converting them into pictures or movies. This is what causes greater understanding.

We all know that we can remember a good movie easier then a long book. A movie also moves faster yet we can still remember the details. This is how speed reading works in the brain. Children have this uncanny ability to remember what they see or imagine. They think it's a great game to learn.

One of the benefits of children being able to read and understand what they read is the ability to take in more information in a shorter amount of time. The world has so much for our children to learn it can be overwhelming for most children on a slower track. This opens the way for a child to compete in an adult world without feeling like a failure. It is the mistake of the public school system not to offer young children a chance to enhance their abilities to go faster. The schools cry for more money and reform but what we need are more teachers willing to go against the grain of the outlined program and bring our children into the faster paced information era.

Children are ready for it.

One benefit that took us all by surprise was my children's increased ability to do math and spelling. How wonderful not to have to keep telling high school kids how to spell a word. Most schools make the kids memorize a lot of lists and several workbook problems. What child, especially one with ADD and Dyslexia, has the attention span or the inkling to want to spend so much boring time memorizing lists and doing workbooks? This, more often then not, is how schools ruin kids' zest for learning math and spelling (McBride, 71,76).

My own children noticed that they could understand and remember vast amounts of words and equations just by quickly seeing and picturing them in their minds. McBride suggests that children can often learn up to six hundred plus spelling words per week and several lessons of mathematics in one week, remembering them using a speed reading method (Full Speed, 79).

This mom found that in the time that it takes one average reading child to practice one spelling lesson of ten words they can easily learn one hundred words correctly with speed reading methods.

The thought that speed reading can also help kids with ADD succeed in this world was intriguing. This theory we tested in our home on my second child who was diagnosed with ADD at six years old. She turned out to be the child in our group who took to speed reading right away, comprehending what she read.

In 1997 Jeffrey Freed published his book Right-Brained Children In A Left-Brained World, in which he explains that kids with ADD and Dyslexia are usually gifted when it comes to speed reading (Speed Reading 4 Kids, 8). Normal reading is a left brained process but speed reading is processed in the right side of the brain. Since children with ADD and Dyslexia are generally right brain dominant, it then makes sense that these children would have an easier time of learning to speed read then slow read. With this in mind, ADD and Dyslexia are not really "disorders," but just different ways of processing the same information or, in other words a person with ADD or Dyslexia learns differently altogether (Speed Reading 4 Kids, 64).

Just recently in an interview with Educational Dr. Harold May in Winnipeg, he told of his recent experiment of teaching speed reading to a small group of stroke patients. He himself being one of the group due to a stroke three and a half years ago. After six weeks of using the Speed Reading 4 Kids technique consistently he and the rest of his group all tripled or quadrupled their reading abilities. "When a person has a stroke the ability to read normally is gone. It is a chore just to get through one paragraph. Speed reading has opened the doors for reading again" (Hal May, 2003).

Read the full text of Dr. May's Research Report HERE

He has tried to get his findings published in the United States but the stroke specialists do not believe that a stroke patient can relearn anything that they can't remember from before the stroke after one year due to damage of the brain. May's response to this is, "You may not be able to do the same thing in the same way but you can in a different way, then practice, practice, practice" (Hal May, 2003).

Practice is the key at any age for any reason when it comes to speed reading.

Read on people! Read on!

Just think. If speed reading was taught in the public schools, how much further our children would be compared to the rest of the world. Unfortunately, it most likely won't happen any time soon. Stancliffe has tried to teach this at the local public elementary schools where he substitute teaches. At first, he was welcomed but now he is finding it difficult to teach speed-reading at the schools. The schools have told him not to (phone interview, 11 Jan 2003). It upsets the teacher's schedules for teaching young children.

McBride found the same back in the 1970's. Most elementary schools have a set system for teaching children reading and language arts. If that system gets upset by children who want to go ahead in their reading as opposed to staying with the prescribed group, the schools feel it will cause extra work for the teachers (McBride, 12-13).

Personally, my opinion would be let's just throw family relations, sex ed and political correctness out the door and incorporate real learning. Make speed reading a part of school academics from second or third grade on. It can't hurt. Let the kids excel at full speed.

With all of these findings and information does this mean that slow reading and teaching with phonics should be obsolete? Is speed reading the only way that a child can succeed?


Speed reading is only a part of what is needed. Troy Henke who is a mentor and principle of a charter school explains, "I found speed reading valuable for comprehension and quantity but slow reading is also needed for scholarship"(phone interview, 2003).

Ah, scholarship. Isn't that what we are all after? To be ahead of the game?

Children in this day age have so much to master. To have scholarship means to incorporates much mentoring and the use of all the media available to us. It also means to learn from the best methods, best information, and to mentor others.

We are in the information age. Why not take advantage of, or at least teach our children to take advantage, using all necessary tools to teach themselves. The world won't quit advancing. History and science will not decrease but only increase as more becomes known. More great books will be written for the reader. Advanced mathematics will be required at younger ages. Our children need the skills necessary to teach themselves to advance and be ahead of the game.

Speed reading is one of those techniques to accomplish this.

What kind of nation we could have in the future if this technique is taught in elementary school and up?

A nation of scholars. A nation of mentors. The world's leaders.

Contact us at: george@speedreading4kids.com

Copyright 2003-2018 Speed Reading 4 Kids




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