Saturday, January 7, 2012
Turn on the CC, Please
Someone gave us a valuable tip a year ago. Lilli's personal aide from school was here at our house. A movie was on, probably Elmo or Veggie Tales. She casually suggested we might want to turn on the closed captioning feature on our tv.
"You never know what words the kids might pick up from reading them as they watch tv," she said. I shrugged, picked up the remote, and turned the CC on.
One year later, we still have never taken it off.
Oh trust me, I am sure others have been bothered by the intrusive blocks of words on the screen as they have watched movies with us. Sometimes they come up in a black strip and block a little part of the bottom of the screen. Sometimes the words are "see-through" and not as noticeable. Either way, the words are there, in the way, and your eyes cannot help but go right to them and read them. I find it impossible to ignore them.
That's what I hope happens to Lilli when she watches tv. My other children too, of course. But since Lilli's main method of communicating now is through typing on the ipad, I am overly eager for her to hurry up and learn to spell a lot of words. It is frustrating when she wants to type a word but her finger hovers over the screen. Sometimes she types "hjfkdshjkl" and that is her way of telling me she can't spell what she wants to say.
No one is deaf or hard of hearing in our home, yet now I am so accustomed to it, I find it difficult to watch movies without the silly words on the screen. Take me to a foreign film and I am sure I'll feel right at home. My husband feels the same way about CC, and says he likes to read it so he doesn't miss anything. (I secretly hope it is doing something positive for my under-exercised, conversations-with-preschoolers-all-day- brain. I feel so much smarter from reading the medical terms on the screen while watching old episodes of House late at night. I can now spell "amyloidosis." Whatever that is. They mention that diagnosis a lot on House.)
I believe that Lilli has learned a lot from these words on the screen. I have watched her eyes looking at the words. Ok, so what if it's a Veggie Tales Silly Song about the "Yodeling Veterinarian of the Alps," she might learn how to spell the word "veterinarian!"
Awhile back when I posted about Lilli knowing how to type Fozzie Bear (she spelled it "Faz z") from the Muppets, the ABA therapist wondered if Lilli might have seen Fozzie's name on the closed captioning. That had not occurred to me. Now that we are thinking about it and we are all so amazed by her rapid progress in typing skills, I think that she may have picked up more than we could measure from closed captions. Think of what a child could learn by reading along with a movie. There's spelling, spacing, sentence structure, capitalization, punctuation, pronunciation, and sight words. You see the words while hearing them. I think Sesame Street is great, but Sesame Street with closed captions is even better! I know closed captions are annoying to some people who don't need to read what they can already hear. But I figure, if the kids are going to watch a movie or tv show anyway, they might as well be learning to read a few new words while watching.
It's Saturday night, and we have been watching/reading the debates. Let me tell you, it is necessary because Lilli is playing with her favorite Christmas present from Nannie and Pop Pop: "Rock and Roll Elmo." He is LOUD and Lilli is laughing. When I walked into the room, I instantly started reading what they were saying because Elmo is deafening.
If it's not too late after the debates are over, we might watch part of the movie "The Grace Card." I can't wait to read it. I mean, watch it.