ABSTRACT The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of captioned videotapes on advanced, university-level ESL students' listening word recognition. A total of 118 ESL students participated in the study. The videotaped materials consisted of episodes from two separate educational television programs concerning whales and the civil rights movement. The results for both passages revealed that the availability of captions significantly improved the ESL students' ability to recognize words on the videotapes that also appeared on the subsequent listening-only (listening stems and alternatives) multiple-choice tests. Recommendations for using captions to enhance second language student listening and reading comprehension are included.