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Lights, Cameras, Pencils! Using Descriptive Video to Enhance Writing

by Helen Hoffner, Ed.D., Eileen Baker and Kathleen Benson Quinn

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Lights, Cameras, Pencils! Using Descriptive Video to Enhance Writing

Grades 3 – 8
Type Journal
Published April 2008
Publisher International Literacy Association



Students of various ages and abilities can increase their comprehension and build vocabulary with the help of a new technology, Descriptive Video. Descriptive Video (also known as described programming) was developed to give individuals with visual impairments access to visual media such as television programs and films. Described programs, currently available on major television networks and in theaters, contain additional audio tracks that can be activated by using the Secondary Audio Program feature on a television, videocassette recorder, or DVD player. The description is intended to explain a program's highly visual elements (such as an actor's unusual costume or a car chase scene) to an individual with a visual impairment. Classroom research, however, suggests that descriptive programming can enhance comprehension and vocabulary for all students.

Hoffner, H., Baker, E., & Quinn, K. (2008, April). Lights, Cameras, Pencils! Using Descriptive Video to Enhance Writing. The Reading Teacher, 61(7), 576579. doi: 10.1598/RT.61.7.8


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Grades   3 – 5  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Descriptive Video: Using Media Technology to Enhance Writing

Students will have a roaring good time when they watch a scene from The Lion King as a way to compare standard and described programming media.