Use Captions to Build Literacy

Captions provide struggling readers with additional print exposure and improve reading skills

In your classroom, you likely have students who are struggling readers - whether they are beginning readers, students with language-based learning disabilities, or ELLs (English Language Learners). What if adding many more opportunities for reading practice were as easy as pushing a button? Next time you turn on a classroom video, turn on the captions!

Captioned or subtitled media can be a great tool for teachers looking to differentiate instruction. Consider using captioned or subtitled media whenever you use video in your teaching; turning on captions during class boosts literacy skills of all students, especially those with print disabilities or ELLs.

Presenting information in multiple ways can help address the diverse needs of learners in the classroom and engage students on multiple levels.

What are the benefits?

Many struggling readers avoid text, and so have minimal exposure to print. Imagine the many additional hours of print exposure your students would get if captions were turned on every time they watched a video at home and at school!

Research has shown that captioning and subtitles can help strengthen:

  • Reading speed and fluency
  • Word knowledge
  • Decoding
  • Vocabulary acquisition
  • Word recognition
  • Reading comprehension
  • Oral reading rates

Learn more!

Interested in learning more about the benefits of turning captions on for learning? Check out our Tech Research Brief Captioning to Support Literacy!

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