Although it sounds incredible, you can learn to read Thai in about 16 hours using the ‘Rapid Method’. Most people take 5-6 months to learn the traditional way, and still struggle to read accurately.
In fact sixteen is the golden number if you follow the 'Rapid' approach: 16 hours to become literate and only 160 hours over 16 months to achieve fluency.*
This is because of the minimalistic 'need to know' philosophy underpinning the Rapid method: focus on as little amount of material as possible - using Accelerated Learning and other brain-based techniques to internalize and automate the material quickly and easily.
What will (or won't) you learn the 'Rapid' way?
Because of the extraordinary (and perhaps unbelievable) claims made about the ‘Rapid’ method, it is important to qualify these claims so that you understand exactly what you can (or can’t) achieve by following the ‘Rapid’ method.
By ‘reading Thai’, I mean being able to recognize Thai words and sound them out accurately with the correct tones. Understanding what you are reading comes later. And that’s what the beginner and fluency courses are all about.
The ‘fluency’ course is not the same as mastering Thai to a high level. My definition of fluency is being able to understand colloquial speech and communicate quickly, without thinking. You probably won’t do well in formal exams and you will probably make many mistakes, but you will be able to read and speak at natural speed and understand 90% of a conversation or a relatively straight-forward text written in plain language.
You will not be able to understand flowery or highly formal material as found in poetry, classic literature or academic texts. Your level of comprehension will be not be much higher than a young teenager.
I believe that speaking is a ‘muscle’ skill, not a ‘linguistic’ ability. This seems to be a very contentious issue, so I will elaborate:
I realize that it sounds all too incredible to be true. Some people believe it’s a scam or a marketing gimmick of some kind. That’s understandable considering that we are bombarded with dishonest or misleading messages all the time.
To understand exactly what you can (or can’t) achieve with the ‘Rapid’ method, please also read this article.
Feedback from actual workshop participants
So rather than take my word for it, read what other people, who actually attended my workshops or followed the self-study course have said:
Gary, what a great day. Thank you so much. I was on the way home on the BTS reading the signs everywhere... What an experience... Your course is fantastic! Stephen Reynolds, Stephen Seminar
It was like taking down the shutters from the windows and being able to see out for the first time. Colette Baily
I wanted to thank you for an excellent weekend. I asked my Thai teacher today if she thought it possible that someone with no prior knowledge could learn to read Thai in two days. She said no. When I read some Thai to her she said, "It's a miracle!!" This morning I was behind a minibus and was able to read that its route was Krungthep to Baan Beung!! I was still smiling when I arrived in Pattaya, so many thanks for the opportunity. Simon Gunn, Managing Director, Hannah Thailand
This course was fantastic – exactly what I needed in my quest to learn to read Thai. I must admit I was a little skeptical at first, but the course exceeded my expectations by miles. We were really reading Thai script by the end of the week and I am continuing to learn more every day with the online resources and follow on suggestions from the instructor. I’ve tried other methods of learning the Thai alphabet but Gary’s pictures are just what I needed to help me remember. I highly recommend this course. Cheron Gelber, Seattle