Monday, February 27, 2006

Literacy through Same Language Subtitles

Mahashunyam has an amazing article on Bubblegeneration about PlanetRead's Same Language Subtitling project to increase literacy.

The project, which just won a Google Grant, teaches literacy to adults by showing movies with same language subtitles--so they can read and listen at the same time.

GoogleBlog has more details on PlanetRead and the GoogleGrant they won.

Possibly the most amazing part: "Every U.S. dollar covers regular reading for 10,000 people – for a year."

The article caught my eye partly because we're running a similar experiment in our house right now.

I'm Canadian, and my first language is English, but I learned French through the school system, and living in France and Quebec. Now I'm living in the US, concerned about losing my French, and my husband who studied French briefly in school is eager to learn it at a function level.

So we rent French movies. For now, we watch them with the English subtitles--so he can follow them, and tune his ear in. As his French gets better, our next step is to watch selected scenes with the English subtitles, and then with the French.

The PlanetRead story reassures me that we're on a good track, or as they say, le bon chemin!

(Right now we're in the middle of the 4-part miniseries of The Counte of Monte Cristo, and it is fabulous.)

The article also reminds me of how, when I lived in Japan, I learned to read a number of Chinese characters (kanji) listening/reading along when friends were singing karaoke.

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