How many times have you watched the movie version of a favorite book and been delighted? Maybe you were disappointed instead.
We all read, comprehend, and feel stories differently. Most of us "see" the story in our minds, like our own personal movie. But each person’s images may be dramatically different. Using a movie as a companion to a book is a great tool for helping kids understand how narrative effects can be created in different ways.
Read the Book First
Make sure to pick out a book that you and your child both like. Take the time together to work out vocabulary words and concepts just as you would with any other book. Your child will have a better learning experience if he or she understands the story well before seeing the movie.
During the movie, pay attention to your child's reactions – is she unhappy with the way a character looks or the way a scene ends? Is he excited about a scene because it happened "exactly like that" in the book?
Compare the Movie to the Book
Talk about differences between the book and the movie, using questions like these:
- Did the characters look the way you imagined when you read the book? Why or why not?
- What did the film leave out? What did they add to the movie that wasn't in the book?
- What special scene did you like best? How was it different from what you imagined while reading the book?
Reread sections of the book and ask your child to point out words and descriptions that fit the characters and scenes as he or she pictured them before seeing the movie.
If the movie version of a favorite book is disappointing, help your children respond to the experience by encouraging them to rewrite the scene. These strategies will help children see how reading and writing create amazing pictures in our minds that may be even better than the movies!
Be sure to check out a wonderful new film review blog by one of our students at The Literacy and Language Center in San Francisco.
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