The performer asks how many people are familiar with the Evelyn Woods Speed Reading Course. Notwithstanding the answer, the performer proceeds to give a brief explanation. The basic idea, the performer explains, it to follow the finger as it weaves a wave-like course down each page. Instead of focusing on each line and reading one word at a time, the brain is trained to record the essence of each page as it is scanned. Obviously, a well trained speed-reader can devour an entire book in the time it takes some of us to read a chapter or two.
A randomly selected spectator is invited to temporarily hold a dictionary for safekeeping. A second spectator is asked to select any one of four paperback novels. The spectator is requested to open the book anywhere he likes and to place his finger at the top of either page. The performer states that when he snaps his fingers, the spectator is to slowly move his forefinger snake-like down the page, allowing his eyes to scan the page as he does so. The performer snaps his fingers and closes his eyes.
As the spectator scans the page, the performer is heard to repeat random, disjointed words. It's as if the performer is seeing in his mind the page as it is scanned by the spectator. Suddenly, the mentalist asks the spectator to move his finger along the second or third lines from the bottom of the page. "I seem to be getting an impression of someone's name. Is there a name somewhere in the vicinity of your finger?" the performer asks. The spectator replies that there is.
Slowly the performer spells the name, one letter at a time. "Am I correct?" the performer asks. The spectator replies that he is right on the money. "Please drop down to the next line and read it silently to yourself," the performer directs. "Please concentrate on any word in that sentence, but to make it as difficult as possible, please choose a word with more than five letters. The longer the better."
The performer picks up a drawing pad and a marking pen. Gazing intently at the spectator, the performer jots something on the pad and then holds it high above his head without allowing anyone to see what he has written. "Please call aloud the one word out of the hundreds of thousands of possibilities in that book that is in your mind" the performer requests. The spectator exclaims, for example, "Difference."
The performer says, "Look!" Simultaneously, he turns the drawing pad around and the audience sees a cryptic message, "82-L-1." The audience, expecting to see a word printed on the pad is confused. The performer asks the person holding the dictionary to please stand. "I had a strange premonition, but I believe I know what it means," the performer states. "Please turn to page 82 in the dictionary you've been holding," says the performer.
When the spectator has indicated that he has located the requested page, the performer states, "I believe the 'L' stands for the left hand column. There are two columns on page 82, will you please look at the one on the left." The spectator does so. "Now, the numeral '1' indicates the first word in the left hand column. Please read aloud that word!" the performer states. The spectator replies, "Difference."
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When parents help their children learn to read, they help open the door to a new world. As a parent, you can begin an endless learning chain: You read to your children, they develop a love of stories and poems, they want to read on their own, they practice reading, and finally they read for their own information or pleasure. They become readers, and their world is forever expanded and enriched.