Bringing Gratitude to Thanksgiving

A wonderful article from Confident Parents Confident Kids.  Hope you enjoy it!  And have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Bringing Gratitude to Thanksgiving

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Wow!  Our summer results are in and they are amazing.  Please click the link to see them!

white paper with yeah signage

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What Do Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, JFK, and Jimmy Carter Have in Common Aside from Having Been President?

Don’t be afraid to go in your library and read every book.“–Dwight D. Eisenhower

What do Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy, and Jimmy Carter have in common aside from having served as President of the Unites States?

  1. They were all Republicans.
  2. They were all Democrats.
  3. They are all on Mount Rushmore.
  4. They were all speed-readers.

The answer is 4.  All of these Presidents were speed readers.  Rumor has it that George Washington and Abe Lincoln were also speed-readers–but we really don’t know.   The Roosevelts were self-taught; whereas, Kennedy and Carter took speed reading classes.  Jimmy Carter participated in speed reading classes at the White House with his wife Rosalynn and daughter Amy and read two books a week even with his busy schedule.  Kennedy took speed reading classes with his brother Bobby. Both presidents then brought in speed reading instruction for their staff so that they would be productive readers as well.   JFK could read 2,500 wpm, in part because he was able to read large groups of words at a glance, and regularly read 6 newspapers front to back at breakfast.

The Roosevelts both taught themselves to speed read.  FDR began his speed-reading training by reading two or three words at a time, building to reading two or three lines at a glance, and eventually working up to absorbing entire paragraphs.  Sometimes he would glance at a page, then turn the page and consider what the writer was saying.  Teddy read a book before breakfast every day when he was President and sometimes read as many as three books a day.  His comprehension and recall were fantastic:  He could remember all the important points and even quote from the books he read.

There is a bumper sticker that says Readers Are Leaders.  In the case of these presidents, we could say Speed Readers Lead.  I have met many highly successful people who have told me that they had taken a speed reading course along the way, and we have taught many rising leaders.  I taught a high school sophomore last weekend who doesn’t aspire to the presidency, but he has definite leadership goals and this was a step in meeting them. You might not become a president after taking our course, but you will have the tools and confidence to reach your career and education goals.  To honor the Speed Reading Presidents, all who sign up for any of our spring courses by Wednesday, February 28th can save $50 and take it for the student rate of $425.  Become a speed-reader:  You’ll be in great company!

Bonnie James

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Helping Kids Deal with the Stress of the Test!

As we strive to give kids less stress on the test with better reading skills, I was impressed with this article on how to handle the emotional part of test anxiety.

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”Mom, everything seems to speed up around me, get louder in my head, and I can’t take my test. I feel scared.” This is how my ten-year-old son described his anxiety during test taking time. But though I know he has felt those feelings in the past, this is the first time he’s been able to articulate it.

In fact, anxiety is experienced differently by every person. Some may get headaches, some tummy aches. Some may feel hot, sweaty or like they are going to faint. But whatever the physical symptoms, frequently they can be accompanied by a host of fears. Yes, the stress of performing well is one of those fears but those worries may lead to a number of others like, “Will everyone make fun of me when I fail?” “Will I learn that I actually don’t have the smarts to do it?” and “Why can’t I think?…

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Fake News Confronted by Educators, World Wide Newspapers and the Columbus Metropolitan Club.


Tabloid “News”

internet quote picture

Facebook “News”









I published this article last year and last week an updated similar one.  The recent Metropolitan Club’s panel topic was “Fake News is an Oxymoron”, so I decided to run a couple of blogs again.

This is the link to that very interesting discussion: Metropolitan Club “Fake News is an Oxymoron.  “What is fake news and how do we fight it? Intentional Insights President Dr. Gleb Tsipursky presented on this topic at the Columbus Metropolitan Club, in a panel along with Kelly Frank (News Director at 10TV – WBNS) Alan Miller (Editor of The Columbus Dispatch) and Clark Donley (News Director of Sunny 95 – Columbus, OH). He focuses on the Pro-Truth Pledge project at”

As the picture of the tabloids demonstrates, fake news has been around for a long time and it is still with us at the checkout line at the grocery store! But it is more invasive with  the Internet.

We might be getting sick of the words “fake news” right now due to their overuse and misuse these days. But it is refreshing to know that  good information is out there to help people who choose to take it in to help sort out what is real and fake.

When I was in Bangkok teaching a class for the USAID last January, I enjoyed reading the English version of the local papers.  I found an article about how to spot fake news and to think before sharing (novel approach)!

Then when I got back, our local paper the Columbus Dispatch had a wonderful article about how students are being taught to THINK about what they are reading and how to come up with what is accurate.  Following that, ASCD published an article from the Seattle Times which  released a worksheet to help students lessons on news judgment.

I am sharing the Columbus Dispatch article first.  The next two blogs will be the one from Bangkok and from ASCD (a global community dedicated to excellence in learning, teaching, and leading).  The Dispatch article shows how various area schools are incorporating reading and discussing news articles into social studies, government classes, and writing courses.  I’d love to see a follow-up study to see what kind of conversations might have occurred in the homes where the older generation uses its comfortable sources and the younger one has learned to delve deeper.

Columbus Dispatch:  Teachers confront fake news in classroom lessons


Teacher Amanda Suttle’s students know to take with a grain of salt an online article positing that millennials are bad with money and need financial-planning help. It was written by a bank executive. And they get that a photo of mutated daisies, posted online with the claim that they sprouted near Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, could be total bunk. These were examples that she floated this week for her 12-student media-literacy class at Licking Valley High School, just east of Newark, and she’s glad to see their healthy skepticism.

“I often ask them questions that I don’t have the answers to because I want them to think for themselves and not just tell me what they think I want to hear or what they think the ‘right’ answer is,” Suttle said in an email. “I consider it vital that they learn how to question everything, to resist the urge to believe the single story, the stereotype or the first thing they hear. In essence, I want them to read more and not be easily duped.

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The Nation Article on Avoiding Fake News From Bangkok


The Nation

Because The Columbus Metropolitan Club’s topic today is Fake News is an Oxymoron and because we made our trip to Bangkok this month a year ago, I decided to re-post this blog.

I read this article when teaching a class in Bangkok for the USAID.  I enjoyed reading the English version of the papers in the hotel lobby.  This column in the The Nation by Suthichai Yoon started with:  Thais got a taste of what “fake” news can do to you recently when Facebook got fooled by its own algorithm.
It is interesting that it also mentions to the News Literacy Project in the US.  Funny that I found out about the project while in Bangkok!

The full article is below. The link can take you to the publication.
Source: How to spot fake news – Think before you share

Thais got a taste of what “fake” news can do to you recently when Facebook got fooled by its own algorithm.

When the social network activated its Safety Check feature, a false security alert was triggered. A year-old article about a bomb blast in Bangkok (the 2015 Erawan Shrine attack) sent a jolt of panic across the world before it was deactivated an hour later.

The incident raised questions about how Thais consume news on the social media. Long before fake news became a big issue during the US presidential election campaign, many Thais were caught in their own drawn-out social media battle, posting news considered favourable to their political orientation – and disparaging stories that shed a negative light on their faction.

The general public, however, has to be armed with sufficient guidelines on how to detect news that is deliberately distorted or cooked up to paint an incident in a certain way.

I was drawn to the News Literacy Project in the US, which is focused on “vaccinating” citizens against fake news from a young age. The process has to start in the classroom, even before kids start using mobile phones.

In what is being dubbed a post-truth era, news literacy must start from the ground up.

The US project uses a virtual classroom and mobilizes seasoned journalists to help students nationwide sort fact from fiction in the digital age.

It offers basic questions – the five W’s and one H – as guards against falling into the fake news trap:

WHO wrote the article? Is there a byline or author?

WHAT is the publication? Is it a credible or trusted news source?

WHERE do the sources inside come from? Are they named? Are they legit? Are they absent?

WHEN was it published? A missing date could raise a flag.

WHY did the writer create it? What was the motivation? Would you share it with someone?

HOW did it make you feel? Angry? Excited? Any other strong emotions? That could be another flag. Is it suspicious? To what degree can you fix it?

To the general public, guidelines given by Nick Robins-Early, a  world news reporter for the Huffington Post, can also be very helpful in spotting a fake story.

1. Read past the headline.

One way that fake news gets amplified is that busy readers don’t look past the headline or opening paragraph before they decide to share an article. Fake news publishers sometimes exploit this tendency, writing the beginning of a story in a straightforward way before filling in the rest with obviously false information.

2.     Check what news outlet published it.

Unfamiliar websites plastered with ads and all-caps headlines should draw immediate scepticism. Googling a site’s name and checking out other articles it posts should also help determine whether it’s trustworthy.

Many fake news sites will outright say that they are satire or don’t contain factual information, but others are made to mimic major news outlets. Check the URL names of pages that look suspect, making sure that it’s not a hoax site that is pretending to be a trusted source.

3.    Check the date and time of publication.

Another common element in fake news is that old articles or events can resurface and lead people to believe they just happened. Checking the publish time stamp is something readers can quickly do to prevent being misled.

4. Who is the author?

Looking at who wrote the article can reveal a lot of information about the news source. Searching through the author’s previous articles can show whether they are a legitimate journalist or have a history of hoaxing.

5.    Look at what links and sources are used.

A lack of links or sources for claims in an article is an obvious warning sign. Fake sites may also provide numerous links to sites that appear to back up their claims, but are themselves spreading misinformation. Check to see that claims supported by links actually come from reliable sources.

6.    Look out for questionable quotes and photos.

It’s incredibly easy for fake news writers to invent false quotes, even attributing them to major public figures. Be sceptical of shocking or suspicious quotes, and search to see if they have been reported elsewhere.

Likewise, it’s easy to take a photo from one event and say it’s from another. Images can also be altered for a certain story. Reverse image searches, either through Google or tools like TinEye, can help you find where an image originated.

7.    Beware confirmation bias

People are often drawn to stories that reinforce the way they see the world and how they feel about certain issues. Fake news is no exception, and many of the articles that fall under its umbrella are designed to stir up emotion in readers and prey on their biases.

It’s important to check that news stories are based in fact, rather than sharing them because they support one side of an argument or bolster pre-existing political beliefs.

8.    Search if other news outlets are reporting it

If a story looks suspicious or claims to reveal major news, search to see if other news outlets are also reporting the story. A single article from a suspicious source making a grand claim should be viewed with heavy scepticism. If no reliable news outlets are also reporting the story, then it’s likely fake.

Perhaps the most practical piece of advice is: Think before you share. That’s because fake news sites rely on readers to share and engage with their articles in order for them to spread. In extreme cases, these fake articles can balloon out of control and have unintended consequences for those involved in the stories.

With dwindling newsroom staff and shrinking financial resources, journalists increasingly rely on online sources for stories and breaking news. As such, there’s an even greater imperative for all editors to follow this exhaustive checklist to avoid falling victim to “fake journalism”.  By Suthichai Yoon

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Speed Reading Plus™ Blog Launch by Bonnie James

Speed Reading Plus Blog!

One of my 2018 New Year’s Resolutions is to be much better at posting blogs. I have been very negligent. This summer I got Lyme Disease which turned me into a very lazy person for a while. Blogging was something I got lazy about. Not any more! We did some exciting things last year, changed some lives and have found interesting and helpful articles to share with you.

I just thought a fun way to get going again was to go to our very first blog and share it again. 

Here it is:
I started this blog to share some of the insights and experiences from my thirty plus years of teaching speed reading–the little successes of my students that add up along with their major victories have fueled my passion for what we do here–and are worth sharing.  I’ve had the good fortune to meet some extraordinary and interesting…

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