• Peter Hogan

Turn ON the subtitles

Updated: Mar 23



Same Language Subtitles (SLS) increase literacy rates, as well as reading, media access and language acquisition. Put another way, reading skills improve when the subtitles are on when kids are watching the TV.


Research suggests the real benefit starts when a child is a sufficiently competent reader that decoding is done subconsciously. This tends to be around the age of six to seven.

Based on a study of 2,350 children, 70% of those exposed to 30 minutes a week of subtitled film songs became “good readers” compared to 34% of those whose reading is supported by schooling alone. Campaign organisers can point to similar positive findings from around the world.

The Turn On The Subtitles campaign has been going for a few years but is really gathering pace. Netflix has launched a global pilot, YouTube now has dedicated channels containing subtitled kids content and there is support from the BBC and ITV.

Simple, free and effective. Sounds good!


More here: www.turnonthesubtitles.org

Peter Hogan has been the Head of schools in the UK and Asia for 20 years. He writes about schools, teaching and learning at hogan.education and can be contacted at peter@hogan.education

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