Speed-reading courses in China claim to teach students to read 100,000 words in 5 minutes

Such speed-reading courses can be priced up to S$51,800.

Jason Fan | October 19, 2019, 11:46 AM

Asian parents are known for their penchant to enrol their children in all sorts of enrichment classes.

In China, speed-reading courses have prompted widespread discussion after a video of students quickly flipping through books in a competition went viral on social media.

These courses claim to be able to teach children how to read 100,000 words within five minutes.

[video width="640" height="360" mp4="https://static.mothership.sg/1/2019/10/4ybQWAByXg-5rI98bZHso-Ii4VIbfNJREQw__.mp4"][/video]

Known as "quantum speed-reading"

The competition video shows children rapidly flipping through pages.

Image from Miaopai.

Supposedly, by flipping through pages quickly, images start to appear in the reader's mind, helping them understand the content.

After 72 classes, students can apparently finish reading a 100,000-word book in one to five minutes.

This method is known as "quantum speed-reading", and is based on a book by Japanese teacher Yumiko Tobitani published in 2006.

Students can supposedly feel the images in the book

South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported that the contest was organised by Xinzhitong, a prominent education centre in Beijing, based on a promotional poster seen in the video.

However, Xinzhitong denied it was involved in the event, claiming that its name was used by another company without its permission, according to The Beijing News.

SCMP then contacted several tutoring organisations in China, who confirmed that they offer speed-reading courses.

Liu Yazhao, who owns tutoring group Hongdao Culture in Ningbo, claims that after five to 12 days of practicing with music and flash cards, a student can feel the images in the book, even without opening it.

"They can just feel it in their hands or forehead," he said.

Courses can be priced at up to S$51,800

However, scientists have debunked the effectiveness of this method, and authorities in Sichuan province have flagged these courses as a scam.

Xiong Bingqi, deputy director of the 21st Century Education Research Institute in Beijing, said parents believe in these courses largely due to anxiety over their children's academic success.

Although many of these parents are well educated, they can become irrational when it comes to giving their children the edge in terms of their academics.

According to Sixth Tone, such courses can be priced at up to 269,000 yuan (around S$51,800).

Top image from Miaopai.