Literacy and Captioning

An article on the ABC News website tells about Jim Arruda Henry who learned to read at 92 and even wrote a book at 98. It is an amazing accomplishment for someone at his age that shows it’s never too late to learn at any age!

As a deaf person and a voracious reader, I cannot imagine my life without literacy. I also cannot imagine my life without captions that also help me with literacy. Even though I am a fluent signer and can lipread to some extent, it’s verbatim captioning that gives me a full access to a spoken language.

While I enjoyed reading the article, I’m disappointed that the video in the beginning of the article is not captioned. I was curious to know what Henry said in his interview. Captions are important not only to many millions who have little or no hearing or whose native languages are other than they are listening to, but also to those who are learning to read – both children and adults – which is also the topic of this blog post. Literacy and captioning are interrelated with each other.

Jakob Nielsen reported in his blog post about low-literacy users: “According to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Assessment of Adult Literacy, 43% of the U.S. population has low literacy.”

CaptionLabs wrote a blogpost, “Turn On the CC”, by starting that National Education Association promoted Read Captions Across America to celebrate the birthday of Dr. Seuss and to “emphasize on the importance of captioned media as a reading tool for all children, not just those who are deaf or hard of hearing”.

Here are the excerpts of the blog post:

  • “Millions of Americans are learning how to read or currently struggling with reading. According to Captions for Literacy, “A picture is worth a thousand words, but add print to the sound and TV becomes a reading tutor”. By seeing the words on screen while simultaneously hearing them, children are able to gain a better vocabulary as well as correct comprehension and pronunciation of words.”
  • “There are also millions of people that are learning English as a second language. In learning a new language, it is often easier to first read the language than it is to hear it and fluently understand. By reading English words at the same time as hearing them spoken, people can increase their ability to understand and retain the language.”
  • “Motivating children to read is incredibly important. Turning the closed captioning on while watching television can help this cause. Of course, reading closed captions can be of great benefit to adults as well.”

Below is the video from the Read Captions Across America page produced and captioned by Aberdeen Captioning: