Almost two years ago, a lady who had signed up for one of my speed reading courses showed up early on the first day of class to privately inform me that she had a reading disability, so that I wouldn't be too frustrated at the poor performance that she was expecting in the class. I gave her some words of encouragement and told her that she might do better than she thought she would. I'm glad I encouraged her. She ended the course reading 18,000 words per minute. While it's not uncommon for children to attain such reading speeds, I've only had one adult student in my life who could go faster.

Last night I just finished talking to my friend, Troy, who teaches school (in fact, the charter school that he taught at for the past two years has 50% of the students DIAGNOSED with Attention Deficit Disorder [ADD]). He and I have the same hobby: We teach children to speed read. It was nice to find out that Troy has noticed the same pattern that I have noticed in our speed reading students: Some "learning disabled" people are EXTREMELY gifted when it comes to speed reading.
Specifically, the children who have ADD and Dyslexia tend to catch on to speed reading better than most other children, based on what I have seen in my speed reading classes. Recently, new evidence had come forward that verifies what Troy and I have discovered on our own.

In 1997 Jeffrey Freed, M.A.T.; published his book RIGHT-BRAINED CHILDREN IN A LEFT-BRAINED WORLD, in which he explains, among other things, that kids with ADD and Dyslexia are usually gifted when it comes to speed reading. This is because normal reading and speed reading are each processed in completely different parts of the brain.
Normal reading takes place in the Left half of the brain. But speed reading is processed in the Right half of the brain.
Since children with ADD and Dyslexia are universally right-brain dominant, it makes sense that they would have an easier time of learning to speed read than to "normal read". ADD and Dyslexia are not really "disorders." They are just different ways of processing the same information. The "solution" to these conditions is not the traditional therapy, but rather a different APPROACH to learning altogether.

Although I am not an expert in the field of education, I agree with Mr. Freed, based on my experience as a speed reading instructor. As I recall my star students, most of them had the symptoms of being right-brain dominant. Also, as I recall those who had the most difficulty, usually adult students who struggled, they, in contrast, displayed the symptoms of left-brain dominance. Of course, Troy indicated that all those ADD students at his school were universally his best speed readers also.
If you have a child who may have either ADD or Dyslexia, and you want him/her to be a better reader, one of the best things that you could do is to teach him/her to speed read.

It's all pretty easy, really. There are two articles that have recently been published on the subject of how to teah your children to speed read. You can do it successfully even if you don't know how to speed read yourself. One article is found on the website under the subject of "speed reading." The other one recently came out in the Sept-Oct 1999 issue of Backwoods Home Magazine, pages 42-47. The Backwoods article may also be found on the website after Oct 1999, as they often post articles from previous issues on their website.
The Backwoods article can be used for children of any age from 8 on up, while the article is geared for intelligent children aged 8-12.

If you would like to have the most complete information available, there is currently only one manual out on the subject, SPEED READING 4 KIDS. It has been successfully used in the classroom and at home for teaching ADD and Dyslexic children, as well as "normal" children, to speed read, (even some children who were so poor at normal reading that they were considered non-readers). Though it is recommended for children who have attained 3rd grade reading level before beginning the program, it wouldn't hurt to give it a try if you have no other alternatives for your child.
It is available from

Author's Bio: 

George Stancliffe lives near Yakima, WA, and is the author of the manual SPEED READING 4 KIDS. In 1997 he formed The American Speed Reading Project, with the goal of making speed reading a universally learned skill for all children by the age of 12.
He conducts special workshops and teaches speed reading courses from coast to coast.
He can be contacted at his e-mail address: