Watching TV to build reading skills

Watching TVParents, there is a simple way to turn TV time into reading time!

While nothing is better than reading a book, watching TV does not have to be a reading dead zone.  If you enable closed captioning, you can help your child read more fluently.

Closed captioning was designed to aid the deaf or hard of hearing.  Closed captioning converts dialogue, narration and sound effects into text at the bottom of the screen.  The effect is similar to subtitles in movies.  Closed captioning is available on most TV shows.  It will be marked in the TV Guide with a CC.  You can enable closed captioning with a button on your remote control.  Most DVDs offer closed captioning—select it from the menu.

Proponents of closed captioning often point to Finland, where children watch as much TV as American children, but score much higher on reading tests.  Finnish children’s favorite shows are often in English, so children must read the Finnish translations at the bottom of the screen while watching the show.  This helps make children better readers.

When your children watch TV, turned the closed captioning on.  You can leave the sound on or off.  Children do not tune out closed captioning and have no choice but to notice it.  Like it or not, children will absorb the connection between the written and spoken word.

Sing-along song DVDs are a fun spin-off of the closed captioning concept.  The best-known Sing-along Songs are produced by Disney.  These programs show popular Disney songs from movies, with the words at the bottom of the screen.  Sing-along Songs are even better than closed captioning because a bouncing Mickey (or other icon) shows which word is being sung.

Options abound: Disney has the most—too many to list! Disney appeals to the widest audience because younger children enjoy the music, and older children enjoy revisiting favorite Disney movies.  Sesame Street and Kidsongs are good for preschoolers through first grade.

To read more about closed captioning and reading, visit the National Captioning Institute.

Posted in Fun With Literacy,Tips for Parents by Corey Green @ Mar 19, 2010


1 Comment

  1. Recently read your tips on using closed captioning
    -thought you might enjoy exploring
    –On the literacy potential of subtitling musicals, music video, etc. (Youtube video -Discovery Channels’ Boom DE Yada with Same-Language-Subtitling)

    Comment by Greg McCall — May 24, 2010 @ 9:27 PM

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