Teaching Children to Speed Read and Accelerate Learning in an Adult World
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.
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."
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.
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.
Children are ready for it.
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.
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).
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.
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).
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?
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
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