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Can A Video "Book" Help your Child Learn To Read?

At Ferst Readers, we know that teaching your young child early literacy skills is critical for their future success as students. We recommend that all parents read to their children a minimum of 30 minutes each and every day from birth (or even while they are in the womb)! My wife read with my daughter regularly all the way through middle school. When my daughter had a book to read for school, my wife and daughter would sit together on the couch and take turns reading out loud a page each until she completed the assignment for that day. So your child cannot be too young, nor too old, to read to or read with.

What about those times when you have already read 30 minutes, and don't have any more time to spend, but you want to give your child more opportunities to learn literacy? One of the things we learned purely as bystanders is using the closed caption (subtitles for the hearing impaired) on your television to help your child learn words that go with the cartoon they are watching.

One day when our daughter was 3-4 years old, I walked into her room where she was watching cartoons. The closed caption was turned on, so the conversation was being displayed across the bottom of the screen. I told my daughter, "Honey, you can't see the picture real well with the words on the screen. Let me take them off for you." She responded, "No, daddy. That is how I'm learning to read!" So, from that day on, whenever my daughter watched cartoons, she did it with the closed caption on.

When she started school, her teachers would ask us, "What did you do to help her learn to read? She has a very good vocabulary for her age." We'd have to reply, "We didn't do anything unusual, but she did! She watched her cartoons with the closed caption on!"

And, to help prove that it may have helped, our daughter won the Georgia Private School State Spelling Bee as an 8th grader in 2012, and scored 730 out of 800 on the Critical Reading portion of the SAT in 2015.

Did reading the closed caption words during cartoons as a young child make the difference for our daughter's success in reading? We may never know for sure. But, what can it hurt to try it with your young child? Good reading to you and your family.

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