There have been a number of studies considering the literacy benefits of captions for students who are Deaf or hard of hearing (DHH), students with an additional language or dialect; and students learning to read; including the following:

Students with an additional language or dialect

  • “video plus captions led to better learning of unknown words/phrases than video alone” (Chai & Erlam, 2008, p. 35)
  • “the use of video plus captions can help students learn colloquial language and how and when native speakers use it” (Chai. J & Erlam. R, 2008, p.36)

DHH students:

  • “higher scores for tests of comprehension (CT) and information recall (IL) with the captioned video condition …suggesting combining captions with video provides an information advantage to students who are deaf.” (Jelinek Lewis & Jackson, 2001, p.50)
  • “Although deaf students’ reading comprehension scores are lower on average than those of their hearing peers, their script comprehension for captioned videos is greater than comprehension of the script in different text formats, indicating they process additional information from the visual stimuli provided in the video component.” (Jelinek Lewis & Jackson, 2001, p. 52)

Learning to read:

  • “There is preliminary evidence supporting these predictions; emerging readers were found to benefit the most from on-screen print when compared with both poor readers and fluent readers.” (Linebarger. D, Taylor Piotrowski. J, Greenwood. C, 2010, p 150).
  • “When captions were present, they appeared to serve as a focusing agent” helping readers to identify the central story elements while keeping them from attending to incidental content.” (Linebarger, 2001, p 297).
Chai, J. & Erlam, R. (2008) The effect and the influence of the use of video and captions on second language learning, New Zealand Studies in Applied Linguistics, 14(2), 25-44.
Jelinek Lewis, M. S. & Jackson, D. W. (2001) Television literacy: comprehension of program content using closed captions for the deaf,  Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 6(1), 43-53.
Linebarger, D. L. (2001) Learning to read from television: the effects of using captions and narration, Journal of Educational Psychology, 93(2), 288-298.
Linebarger, D; Piotrowski, J.T; Greenwood, C (2010) On-screen print: the role of captions as a supplemental literacy tool, Journal of Research in Reading 33, (2), , 148–16