A speed reading competition organised by The Hindu Newspaper in Education initiative saw enthusiastic kids participating.

On Republic Day students from schools across the city were on their toes racing against numbers and words. The feat was to spot out the given numbers and words scanning through the rows as fast as they could. The speed reading competition was conducted by The Hindu NIE (Newspaper in Education) initiative in association with Only Success Learning Technologies.

Despite it being a holiday, enthusiastic students and supportive teachers and parents turned up in large numbers well before time. From among the 1100 students from 120 schools across the city who participated, 25 made it to the final round. First was the demo round that helped students get a taste of the competition. The preliminary round was followed by more rounds, and the competition got tougher every time. The organisers tried to keep the students engaged throughout by motivating them and giving small tips to avoid bad reading habits like reading word by word, lip reading, sub-vocalization, mind wandering and back skipping.

Karthika, a teacher from Sacred Heart Matriculation School, Sholingur, said that the exercise will help improve the students' concentration and reading habits. “Numbers were a bit difficult to figure out. The exercise with words was very simple and we could finish it very soon. Though we couldn't make it to the final round, we enjoyed it well, said Prerna Prakash and Deepshika, Std VIII students at Bala Vidya Mandir.

“It was a bit difficult to go by the rules and finish the exercise in time. Numbers were the tricky part, words were simple and easy, and that is what helped me to win,” said U. Mehamanishaa, of VII std student of Nazareth Matriculation School, Avadi, who won the second prize .

Chief guest for the event, P.C. Ramakrishna, theatre actor and voiceover artist, said that in this age of information overload it is very essential to identify what is important for us. “Speed reading is very important. We have to prioritise our reading and grasp the essence. On the other hand, we have to be accurate, precise and empathetic while communicating with others, so that they don't have to speed read us,” he added.

P. Sriram, chairman, Chennai Institute of Technology, Lakshmi Narayanan, Director, Sales and Marketing, Only Success Learning Technologies and N. Krishnan, Regional General Manager (Circulation), The Hindu, addressed the audience.

The event was presented by Chennai Institute of Technology. Grand Sweets and Snacks was the snack partner and Sabols the water partner for the competition. “I never thought I would win. Last year I had participated but didn't make it. This time I tried the technique of going by the first and last letters of the word, and it worked,” said a beaming Yalini, VII, Bala Vidya Mandir who bagged the first prize. The third prize winner, B.Sai Vijaysree, Chinmaya Vidyalaya, Chinmaya Nagar, found the competition interesting. “I am really happy. It has given me more confidence and I would like to attend more competitions like this. ”“It was interesting and fun too. We think it'll help to increase our reading speed and comprehension..” R. Krithika, VIII, Sree Venketashwaran MHSS and D.Santhosh, VII, M.K.M.