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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Just over a month to go until Read Captions Across America™ Day!

The third-annual Read Captions Across America™ (RCAA) celebration will be held on March 3rd. Read this month's newsletter to familiarize yourself with RCAA and to help you plan RCAA activities for your family, school, library, or group!

Learn about captioning for DVDs and the Internet.

In his article, DVD and Web Captioning, DCMP Information Technologist Kevin Jones introduces readers to the basics of captioning for DVD and Internet streaming media formats. As video moves from analog to digital mediums, there are many new opportunities for bringing improved accessibility options to deaf and hard of hearing viewers.

Calling all teachers of students who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Teachers and educational professionals are encouraged to participate in the Fourth Annual Survey of Assessments and Accommodations for Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing.

This survey is affiliated with the University of Texas at Austin. For more information, or to learn how you can help to spread the word to other teachers and professionals, please e-mail Dr. Stephanie Cawthon at the University of Texas.

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a series of photographs of teachers and students wearing Dr. Seuss-themed costumes and enjoying books or watching movies with captions turned on

Read Captions Across America!

For the third consecutive year, DCMP is partnering with the National Education Association (NEA) to celebrate Read Across America, observed in conjunction with the birthday of beloved children's author Dr. Seuss. Now in its 11th year, NEA's Read Across America program is designed to "focus the country's attention on how important it is to motivate children to read in addition to helping them master basic skills."

By launching Read Captions Across America™ in 2006, DCMP established the first national reading event to emphasize the importance of captioned media as a reading tool for all children, not just those who are deaf or hard of hearing. Since the first RCAA in 2006, thousands of students have participated in events—typically held in schools, libraries, and at home—designed to highlight the literacy benefits of captioning.

Why "Read Captions Across America"? In his article Read Captions Across America! [PDF] DCMP Project Director Bill Stark identifies the benefits of captions as a reading tool, noting that:

  • Captions help children with word identification, meaning, acquisition, and retention
  • Captions can help children establish a systematic link between the written word and the spoken word
  • Students often need assistance in learning content-relevant vocabulary (in biology, history, literature, and other subjects), and with captions they see both the terminology (printed word) and the visual image
  • Children who have a positive experience in reading will want to read; reading captions provides such an experience

We hope that you join us in promoting captions as an important literacy tool by hosting or participating in an RCAA event this year! Here are some of the helpful materials you can access by visiting DCMP's RCAA page:

Read Captions Across America logo in PDF format
RCAA Poster in PDF format
RCAA Poster [PDF]
RCAA Bookmark front side in PDF format RCAA Bookmark back side in PDF format
RCAA Bookmark [PDF]

Many DCMP members have participated in RCAA or similar events in the past, and we're always looking for new ideas and fresh perspectives about how to make event planning more interesting and engaging for kids. E-mail our communications services specialist to share with us your ideas, photos, and stories, or to request a free poster or bookmark to use for your RCAA event!

a poster from the film horton hears a who displaying a prominent computer animated elephant and several other creatures
© 2008 20th Century Fox

Horton Hears a Who to be released with captions and description!

20th Century Fox presents the timeless Dr. Seuss classic Horton Hears a Who, a story about a good-natured elephant who is determined to save the residents of a town so tiny that it sits on a speck of dust. The only problem is that Horton is the only one in the jungle that can hear the cries for help.

Horton Hears a Who is currently scheduled for a March 14th nationwide theatrical release, which is right on the heels of Read Captions Across America™. The good news is that Horton Hears a Who will be available with captions and description in selected theaters! The Media Access Group at WGBH will provide Rear Window® Captioning and DVS Theatrical® description for theaters equipped with MoPix® systems. Media Access Group will also provide captioning and description for theaters that have the DTS Digital Cinema system installed (these theaters utilize the same closed-description system as MoPix®).

The bad news is that theaters are not required to provide description or captioning, and the number that will do so is limited. DCMP articles, such as Described Movies at Local Theaters [PDF], and Captioned Movies at Local Theaters [PDF] are available to provide you information about the status of this access. To find out if a theater near you will offer description or captions for Horton Hears a Who, or other movies, check out the following resources:

Your local movie theater and the major movie studios need to hear from you that equal access to movies is needed, and that it's needed now! In a blog post from the vice president of the American Foundation for the Blind, read about what can happen when you make the right contacts.

We are working with several organizations to develop ways that Horton Hears a Who can be incorporated into your RCAA celebrations, and will keep you posted with updates as they become available. We hope to use this opportunity to advocate for access in more theaters!

Described and Captioned Media Program • 1447 East Main Street • Spartanburg, SC 29307
Phone: 800.237.6213 • TTY: 800.237.6819
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