TUCSON, ARIZ. Evelyn Wood, whose speed reading courses taught students including Jimmy Carter and Burt Lancaster to whiz through thousands of words per minute, is dead at 86.
Wood died Saturday of natural causes at her daughter's home in Tucson, where she had lived since 1987.
Wood, who was born in Logan, Utah, began teaching speed reading in 1957 at her alma mater, the University of Utah, where she earned a degree in English in 1929.
Those taking her course reported reading and comprehending ability at thousands of words per minute after only a few weeks.
Wood, who reportedly could read up to 15,000 words per minute, opened her first Evelyn Wood Reading Dynamics Institutes in Washington in 1959.
Students included President Carter, members of Congress and actor Burt Lancaster, said her daughter, Carol Davis Evans. President Kennedy, a natural speed reader, sent staff members to take Wood's course.
At its peak in 1978, there were 150 institutes throughout the country.
Wood and her husband, M. Douglas Wood, sold the institutes in 1966, but she continued to teach until she suffered a massive stroke in 1977.
The company is now owned by Pryor Resources Inc. of Kansas City, Kan., which teaches the course through seminars.
Wood is survived by her daughter and seven grandchildren. Her husband died in 1987.
Funeral services are scheduled Friday in Salt Lake City.