I started teaching Speed Reading to children in 1997. At that time, it was a daring thing to propose that children as young as 8 years old should learn to Speed Read.

I remember a conversation that I had, once, in which I mentioned the concept of teaching school children how to Speed Read, to a professor of Education (who was a friend of mine). He advised me that such a thing as teaching Speed Reading to elementary-aged children would be “Extremely Inadvisable” (while he gave me a disapproving look).

He was dead serious. So, I just decided to “do my own thing” and stay away from the experts.

I didn’t need his permission anyway.

Many years, and thousands of children later, I can seriously report back to you that children benefit greatly from learning to Speed Read. And the younger they are, the better they do at it. Most children will at least double their reading speed, with very little extra effort (and with very good comprehension). A few kids do so well, that it’s simply mind-boggling to see them read at high speeds. Some of them read over 3,000 words per minute with near-perfect comprehension. (By comparison, the average college graduate reads about 300 wpm).

But for practical purposes, the lower age limit for learning to Speed Read has always been about 7 or 8 years of age. This is not because younger kids aren’t smart enough, but because they can’t read yet. You see, all the current methods that are used to teach Speed Reading presume that the student already knows how to read.

But preschool age doesn’t need to be a barrier to Speed Reading any more. After all, in 1964, Glenn Doman showed us that even children who are less than one year old can start learning how to read! I’ve watched several YouTube videos showing babies who could read many words—even though they can’t talk yet!

For simplicity’s sake, in this article, I’ll just touch on some basics of teaching children who are 3 to 7 years of age how to Speed Read. With feedback from volunteers and parents, we are now getting more and more help in developing Speed Reading methods for this age group.

I’ve known for many years that some very young children (under the ages of 6 or 7) have been taught to Speed Read, but the techniques that have been used have never been clearly spelled out. In some cases that I know of, the children simply learned by accident.

One big breakthrough came recently when I heard of a mother, who taught both of her daughters to Speed Read by the age of THREE, by using the PowerPoint Program on her computer to flash large-font sized words to her children at gradually increased rates.

What a great idea!

This is a key resource that anyone can use to teach their 3 to 6 year old child(ren) to Speed Read. This is much simpler and easier to do than using the usual flash cards.

And it allows any parent to vary their child’s reading rate at will. This tool can enable the children to become good Speed Readers if it’s used properly.

Almost Everybody has a PowerPoint program on their computer! It’s very simple to use. Once you load, or type, the words into the slides (one word per slide) you can flash the words as rapidly as your fingers can press the “down arrow” key.

(You can also accomplish the same thing with other, similar computer programs. For example, in the Adobe Acrobat Reader, you can view a similar one-word-per-page PDF file of the same story. You simply put it into “full screen mode,” and depress the “down arrow” key to quickly change each slide)

That’s pretty fast!

So, here’s a brief summarized plan:

Step 1: Teach your child to read, using the most practical, easy-to-learn method that you can acquire. I don’t care which method you use: Phonics, Look-Say, Glenn Doman’s method, or something else. As long as they are reading something, independently, then they are ready for the PowerPoint slides.

Your child doesn’t have to be a great reader to be ready to start with the PowerPoint slides, somewhere in the Mid-to-late-First grade reading level would likely be just fine. The whole point is to introduce the concept to your child that they can read silently, and read fast. The better they know the story that you are practicing on, the better they will progress at this.

Step 2: When your child has a favorite story, that they like to read, then put that one into PowerPoint—one-word-per-slide, and in LARGE FONT. (See more on this in the linked website below. I have posted there several PowerPoint Documents with Public Domain children’s material on them, for you to experiment with).

Step 3: POWERPOINT SPEED DRILL: Then, take no more than one or two minutes to flash the story to your child, one-word-at-a-time, by repeatedly pressing the down arrow. At first, you may need to go only one-second-per-word, or so, in order to read aloud through the story. Do this a couple or three times per day until your child knows the story well.

Within a few of days or so, you may be able to do 2, 3 or more words per second. But some kids may progress more quickly in this area than others.

As you progress, provide a variety of simple stories and materials to click through on the PowerPoint slides. Variety helps to maintain interest.

If he/she looks bored, try a faster rate. Have a “race.” See if you can get “the world record.” Make it FUN!

If your child does gets bored, there are three possibilities: a) You may be going too slowly. (Remember, kids are geniuses) Don’t bore them. b) You may not be giving your child enough LOVE, ATTENTION or FUN, to keep their interest. Kids love to play. Turn it into a game if it helps. c) You may need more variety in the curriculum. Add new stories on a regular basis to your collection of PowerPoint “slide-stories.”

If there is no way out of being bored, then QUIT for the time being.

The most important thing in teaching your pre-school child to Speed Read is to KEEP IT FUN. If they have FUN, then they will actually WANT to use the skill after they learn it. Boredom kills learning.

If you would like to help save a child from a life of slow-reading and drudgery, please post a link to this article on a blog, a website or a forum. For every link that you post, you’ll help another child.

For more detailed lesson plans on how to teach Speed Reading to PreSchoolers, go to:


Q's & A's

Q. I learned to read at age 7 (or 8, or 9, etc.) and I turned out to be literate and smart. Why would my child need to learn to SPEED READ at an even YOUNGER age?
A. You could wait until Johnny or Sally are 8 or 10 years old before they are taught to Speed Read. However, the research is pretty straightforward: Little children are geniuses. Whatever they learn at a younger age is learned BETTER.

Take foreign languages for example. I know people who learned 3 or 4 languages fluently, with no accent, by the age of 6. Nobody "taught" them these languages. They were simply in an environment where 3 or 4 languages were constantly exposed to them. This is such a normal thing that we take it for granted and think that it is simply routine. But it's not.

Speed Reading is similar in this respect. Those who learn it younger learn it much better. The skill stays with them better.

We can't say for sure what Johnny or Sally will be doing in 40 years, but if they don't learn to Speed Read now, we may be closing doors of opportunity for them by neglecting to teach them this important skill while they are still very young.

Q. Won't I be ruining my child's childhood by teaching him/her to speed read at a young age?
A. No, you won't. Just like all those children who started to play the piano or violin (or learn 3 languages) by the age of 4 or 5, no one’s life was ruined by the extra effort that was expended in learning their extra talent. The most important part of teaching Speed Reading to your children is to keep the environment FUN and LOVING.

Author's Bio: 

George Stancliffe is the author of SPEED READING 4 KIDS, and has personally taught thousands of children to speed read. He has a new website that goes into more depth on the topic of teaching PRESCHOOL CHILDREN from ages 3 to 7 to Speed Read:


Please visit this website and GIVE IT A TRY! And let me know how things go for you!