International research has shown that primary school children who watched television with subtitles turned on were more likely to reach the expected standards of reading than those who did not. (The Times, 27 May 2019)
Broadcasters are now considering whether to make same-language subtitles appear automatically on cartoons and other children’s programmes in the light of research showing that this can have a dramatic impact on literacy. Parents are already able to turn on subtitles manually but few do so. If broadcasters were to supply them by default parents would still be able to disable them but would have to consciously choose to do so.
The take-away message is to switch on the subtitles if your child is watching any TV channel including Sky, YouTube, Amazon and Netflix. Any opportunity which familiarises your child with words will help improve literacy skills and you don’t have to wait until your child goes to school, start doing this from a very young age.