Friday, January 29, 2021

The Benefits of Closed Captioning for Hyperlexic Kids

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A closer look at the benefits of reading subtitles and closed captioning for hyperlexic kids and how they can be used to help improve comprehension.

Research shows that turning on the closed captioning and subtitles can help improve comprehension for all learners and, I might argue, be even more beneficial for hyperlexic kids in particular whose love for the written word is well documented.

For instance, Gernsbacher (2015) found that watching "video with audio and with captions leads to the highest levels of comprehension," in comparison to those who had video and audio only (so, no captions) or those who had captions only. 

Videos with closed captioning turned on are more engaging, especially in the hyperlexic child's case, which, in turn, creates a positive reading experience. This positive experience is highly motivating and rewarding. 

And, as Lester (1997) points out, "Children need to be motivated and interested in order to use strategies for learning. Interest in a topic has been shown to increase a child's comprehension." 

It's true. When a hyperlexic child is more interested in the topic, their comprehension dramatically improves. 

So let's take a closer look at the benefits of closed captioning and reading subtitles and how they can help help improve the comprehension skills of hyperlexic kids.

The benefits of closed captioning and reading subtitles for kids with hyperlexia

Benefits of Closed Captioning for Hyperlexic Kids

As you will soon see, using closed captioning and reading subtitles are quite helpful for hyperlexic kids. In particular, they can be used to boost comprehension and understanding, an area that many hyperlexic kids need help with. Here's a full list of the benefits:

  • Plays to the hyperlexic child's strengths and interests by using the written word 
  • Increases engagement, focus, attention, and time-on-task (again, by using the hyperlexic child's preference for the written word) 
  • Increases enjoyment and motivation by creating a positive reading experience (again, because - yes, you guessed it - it uses their interest in and preference for written words)
  • Helps with auditory processing by connecting spoken and written words and aids in the comprehension of oral language
  • Improves spelling, "particularly for those with a strong visual memory" (source) which most hyperlexic kids have
  • Improves pronunciation, especially of new or unfamiliar words
  • Aids in word identification, meaning, acquisition, and retention, thereby boosting vocabulary, even if the words weren't heard in the videos (source)
  • Improves memory for the video (source)
  • Helps with identifying emotions (source)
  • Aids in visualization, a useful comprehension strategy, because "they can see and hear what is going on while reading the words and associating them with the images" (source)
  • Improves comprehension skills such as summarizing main ideas, recalling details and facts, making inferences, and making connections (source)
  • Improves self-monitoring skills, which are important for comprehension, because they will follow along with the captions and notice when mistakes are made or even when words are left out (source)
  • Describes other useful information that is relevant to the story and helps to deepen understanding, including, but not limited to, the mood of the music, sound effects, names of characters, or even if someone is speaking off camera
So, if you're not already doing so, be sure to turn on the closed captions and subtitles for every video your child watches, whether it's on TV, a movie, Netflix, or YouTube. As you learned above, using captions can help keep hyperlexic kids engaged while also building important skills for comprehension.

A list of the benefits of closed captioning and reading subtitles for hyperlexic kids

Other Comprehension Resources You'll Love

Picture Walk Reading Strategy

The Role of Schema in Reading Comprehension

How to Teach WH Questions to Hyperlexic Kids

The benefits of closed captioning and reading subtitles for hyperlexic kids and how they can be used to help boost comprehension and understanding