Closed Captioning Helps Children Learn to Read



[Audio: English; Captioned: English]

While the fact that captioning helps out the deaf and HoH should be in of itself sufficient reason to caption everything with no exceptions, I do often point out the additional benefits, because people are basically selfish and more likely to pitch in on something they feel they can use themselves. So I have pointed out that captions are useful in noisy areas (why are none of the PA announcements in airports assisted with a scrolling tickertape, for example), they are helpful in bars, they are useful when English is a second language (which is in fact the largest audience for captioned TV — people looking to improve their understanding of English). There are also privacy issues — imagine being in a library for example, or a young gay teen trying to watch It Gets Better videos. (Yes, yes, they could wear headphones, but I’m just sayin’.)

But captioning, as this video indicates, can also help children learn to read. Just as reading books aloud to your children does, so does captioning, by strengthening the association between the spoken and written word.

So start using captions. Demand captioning from your local TV and cable companies. Write to your politicians supporting caption friendly legislation. Boycott Netflix because they do not caption their streaming video option. Make a point of asking theater companies when they show features with captions on.

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