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Reading course boast goes viral, stirs doubt

By Zou Shuo | China Daily | Updated: 2019-10-18 09:33

[Photo/IC]

Finding it too difficult to read all the reference books recommended by the professor? No worries. An education company in Beijing says it can teach students how to read and remember more than 100,000 words in minutes.

A video of students rapidly flipping through books in a reading competition - organized by a subsidiary of Beijing Xinzhitong Qiguang Education Technology in Yancheng, Jiangsu province - recently went viral on Chinese social media, with the course claiming to teach children how to read more than 100,000 words in one to five minutes.

The market regulation bureau of Dafeng district in Yancheng told Beijing Time on Wednesday that it has asked the training center to rectify its course promotion because it is one-sided.

According to a promotional poster seen in the video by news website PearVideo, the course teaches students a method called "quantum speed-reading". The course is for students between ages 10 and 16. After 72 classes, they should be able to read 100,000 words in minutes and recite what they have read.

The education center said that by flipping through pages quickly, images start to appear in a reader's mind to help them understand the content.

Beijing Youth Daily found training centers in Hangzhou, Shenzhen and Zhumadian offering similar speed-reading courses, priced between 6,000 yuan ($850) for courses lasting half a year to 260,000 yuan for life-term courses.

On social media platform Sina Weibo, a hashtag "education institute claims it's possible to read 100,000 characters in five minutes" had received 140 million views by Thursday, along with comments from doubtful internet users.

"I have invented a new reading method, too. By putting a book on my head during sleep, the knowledge flows right into my brain because the concentration of knowledge in the book is greater than that in my brain," one netizen commented.

Another one said: "I can learn all the knowledge in the books simply by running through the library. I do not even have to open the books."

Xiong Bingqi, deputy director of the 21st Century Education Research Institute in Beijing, said it is obvious that this kind of reading method lacks any scientific basis and is "completely nonsense".

However, some parents who are well-educated and financially comfortable still fall for these kinds of scams because they become irrational when it comes to their children's education and want them to be better academically than their peers, Xiong said.

"They think if their children take such courses, they will have advantages over others, but this kind of unscientific training method only harms their children's development," he said.

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