Now, let's take this discussion down to the most practical level: How can you acquire these all-important abilities?
I've said that these important skills can be learned; they aren't simply inherent intellectual capacities that good students are born with. Let me illustrate by getting you involved at the outset in a hands-on exercise that will prove it's possible to improve your reading speed dramatically and almost instantaneously.
This exercise is designed to identify your present reading speed—an important piece of information if you hope to learn how to improve your reading and study rates. After you've completed the exercise, you may want to let your youngster try it in order to determine his or her speed.
Here's how it works: Using a watch with a second hand, note the precise minute and second now shown on your watch. (You need to record this time on a piece of paper right now so that you don't forget.)
Next, begin reading the remainder of this chapter now at your normal rate. BEGIN READING NOW.
Keep your watch, pencil and pad close at hand, and continue reading until the direction to stop later in this text.
At Britannica Learning Centers—where the Evelyn Wood reading and study concepts have become a staple of our student preparation programs—we know that almost anyone can learn the study techniques employed by superior students. These skills are not based on difficult or arcane principles reserved for the elite or supersuccessful. Rather, they can be learned by practically any individual, regardless of educational background or prior level of achievement— so long as that person is willing to make a relatively modest commitment of time and effort.
Before you've finished this opening chapter, you'll be given some simple tools designed to increase your present reading speed by at least 50 percent immediately. In another seven days, you can expect a quantum leap forward to much higher reading and comprehension levels. And finally, with a reasonable amount of practice in subsequent weeks, you'll find that the sky is indeed the limit for enhancing your learning speed and capacity.
Of course, many of the elite and supersuccessful have already been impressed by the Wood approach. The Evelyn Wood Reading Dynamics Program, which began in 1959, has been promoted and praised by three U.S. presidents:
• John F. Kennedy, himself a very fast reader, brought teachers from Evelyn Wood into the White House to help increase the speed of top-level members of his staff.
• Richard Nixon commended the Wood program for teaching members of his staff.
• Jimmy Carter actually took the course himself—and reportedly achieved a 1,200-word-per-minute reading rate, with high comprehension.
On the grassroots level, during its thirty-year history, the Wood program has helped more than two million people read faster, more efficiently, and with improved comprehension and retention. The other learning and studying skills that have been added to the speed-reading program over the years—such as high-powered note-taking and successful test-taking—have greatly enhanced the average student's chances of improved grade-point averages.
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Today I'm going to teach you a fundamental Mentalism technique known as 'cold reading'. Cold reading is a technique employed by mentalists and charlatans and by charlatan I refer to psychics, mediums, fortune tellers or anyone that claims false abilities that is used to give the illusion that the person has some form of super natural power.