Melinda Thompson

Founder/President - Budding Reader
V2 Photo CFP 143

Melinda Thompson

Founder/President - Budding Reader


Melinda Thompson is the publisher of award-winning Budding Reader eBooks, designed to make learning to read easier for children, especially struggling readers. Partnered with World Literacy Foundation (WLF) since 2012, Budding Reader donates eBooks to WLF for use on their Sun Book tablets.

Turn on the Subtitles: How to Promote Mass Literacy

With the advent of YouTube and streaming services, people are spending more time watching screens than ever. What if there were a way to turn all that screen time into reading time? Turns out there is: same language subtitling (SLS). Empirical data suggests that mainstreaming subtitles may be a valuable and a cost-effective way to promote mass literacy.

Started as a way to make film and later, television, accessible to the hard of hearing, subtitling and closed captioning have been the subject of over 100 empirical studies around the globe. Research strongly suggests that same language subtitles (SLS) provide a wide range of benefits not only to the hearing impaired, but to the general population as well. In short, subtitles benefit everyone.
This session will make the case for expanding the use of same language subtitles as a way to promote mass literacy and will:
• Review the empirical benefits of same language subtitling.
• Reveal who benefits from same language subtitles and how.
• Look at the work of academic and social entrepreneur, Dr. Brij Kothari, who has used same language subtitles on videos in India to promote literacy
through nonprofit, PlanetRead.
• Discuss the Turn on the Subtitles movement in the UK.
• Nudge attendees to promote the use of subtitles in their home countries.

Sometimes little things can make a big difference. Researchers agree same language subtitles can be a powerful, inexpensive, and effective tool for promoting literacy.