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How Children Can Learn to Read with Closed Captions

How Children can Learn to Read with Closed Captions

RevBlogAccessibilityHow Children Can Learn to Read with Closed Captions

Remote learning is no easy feat. Success hinges on using the right tools, getting kids to pay attention, and a strong understanding of what strategies enhance learning.

In terms of literacy skills, it may seem that learning how to read would be increasingly tricky via remote means, but research shows otherwise. Strategies like closed captioning play an important role in teaching children how to read.

The largest study about the effects of closed captioning on literacy comes from India’s Bollywood TV shows and movies. Researchers wanted to learn whether turning on closed captions would impact reading skills. The results were positive and showed that 70 percent of the kids in the groups that received captions were functional readers, compared to only 34 percent of children in the group that didn’t receive captions.

Other studies support these results and show that children will read captions or subtitles if they are available, and the additional exposure to words will increase reading fluency. Additionally, other reports show that captions boost reading speed, vocabulary acquisition, fluency, and word recognition.

The question isn’t whether closed captions help with literacy. They do. The question is this: How can educators, administrators, and other education professionals use closed captioning to enhance teaching in an increasingly remote learning world?

This post will cover how children traditionally learn to read, how closed captioning enhances traditional teaching methodology, and some ways educators can use closed captioning.

How children traditionally develop literacy skills

While learning to read includes mastering word recognition, vocabulary, decoding, and word knowledge, literacy includes identifying, understanding, and communicating using printed and written materials. Literacy also means connecting ideas, expressing thoughts, and understanding the printed word.

Children traditionally develop literacy through play, robust auditory and visual exposure to words, and by assigning meaning to the content.

Here’s the good news for remote teachers: Closed captioning reinforces all of these literacy skills by providing extra exposure to words, helping children assign meaning to those words through visual and auditory cues, and by offering a script to go along with engaging learning activities.

Let’s now look at some best practices for implementing closed captions into remote learning materials.

1. Add captions to teaching videos

Supplementing teaching strategies with educational videos is one of the most popular ways to educate for a reason. Video learning is more memorable, and improves the learner’s ability to retain information.

When it comes to literacy, adding closed captions to videos accomplishes two essential learning objectives. First, it provides additional exposure to words, which improves reading fluency and vocabulary acquisition. 

Second, adding text to video provides visual context to words, making it easier for children and English language learners to understand what they are reading, boosting reading comprehension. Live, automated captions, like Rev’s Live Captions for Zoom, can be especially helpful in remote learning environments, allowing children to see what’s being said on screen.

2. Add captions to songs in videos

Another common way children learn is through song. In a remote environment, music videos and recordings of performances can help with literacy. Songs are memorable, easy to learn, and provide access to many complementary literary devices, including:

  • Introduction to sounds
  • Rhythm
  • Rhyme
  • Repetition
  • Context
  • And more! 

Adding closed captions to videos with songs is another surefire way to improve literacy skills. Just like with adding captions to videos, adding captions to music provides additional exposure to new words. It also offers context so new readers connect the words they are seeing with the words they are singing. 

Closed captioning music is particularly powerful in terms of vocabulary acquisition since there is often repetition of the same words and ideas in the chorus.

3. Add captions to presentations and pre-recorded lessons

It goes without saying that adding captions to presentations and recordings offers the same benefits as adding captions to video and song. The more children see the written word and read along, the more help they get with vocabulary. But, that’s not all.

Adding closed captions to presentations and pre-recorded lessons provides an opportunity for children to read what the teacher is saying. Following along provides yet another opportunity for literacy practice. Additionally, as kids follow along, it helps them with speed, fluency, and comprehension.

Wrap Up

Remote learning is no easy feat, but when you arm yourself with the right tools and strategies, your efforts will prove successful. When it comes to boosting literacy, one easy thing you can do is add closed captions to your videos, songs, lectures, and presentations.

Rev is your best option to help add closed captions to your teaching materials. Rev is the best choice for closed captioning services. The captions are 99% accurate for pre-recorded videos. Rev is one of the best accessibility and literacy partners for educational institutions.