TV with sub-titles ‘will help children to read’

UK Telegraph 20/10/2006
Parents who say they are too busy to read to their children should let them watch television – but only with the sub-titles on, a literacy expert says today. Parents of children over the age of eight should turn off the sound so their child can only understand its favourite programme by reading the text on screen. In the case of younger children, the sound should be left on so the child can see the words it hears, says Mr Trelease, 65, America’s foremost expert on reading aloud.His comments coincide with a report that says 20 per cent of parents of young children do not read to them, claiming they are simply too tired. While parents acknowledge that a child’s literacy skills are vital, they say busy schedules leave them too drained to fit in even a bedtime story. Mothers still read more often to their children than fathers – 44 per cent compared to 16 per cent – while a third of fathers admit to cutting stories short by turning two or three pages at once.