But have you read the book?

So I was reading a Buzzfeed post about the books you have to read before you watch the movie on Netflix and that got me thinking about the reading habits of kids in my class when a movie or tv show comes out that is based on a popular novel or series. A well made movie or tv adaptation has the potiential to inspire a new generation to love reading.

I have to admit, I was one of those kids who read all the time. I read the Hobbit when I was 9 and fell in love with fantasy novels and couldn’t get enough. I devoured book series like Harry Potter in my teenage years and it has continued into my adulthood. I am one of those people that like to read the book first, but in a profession where encouraging kids to read has it’s challenges, I find that the power of pop culture definitely has it’s benefits.

Last year when the movie “Frozen” was at it’s peak, my students, particularly the girls, would do anything if it had even the slightest link to the movie. I based whole literacy lessons around it just to hook them into a difficult concept like synonyms. My reluctant readers were borrowing all the Frozen books that came their way.

I have used watching “Harry Potter and the Philospher’s Stone” as a carrot for students were reluctant to read along with the book  in class. Some of those same students were the ones who were begging their parents to buy them the next in the series and who were writing about witches and wizards in their journal writing time.

So, as much as I am an advocate for reading before y0u watch the movie, I do believe that to engage students in reading and to really help their comprehension of what they are reading, it is sometimes beneficial to watch the movie first.

One thought on “But have you read the book?

  1. Nice post!
    I also read voraciously when I was a kid, and I assumed everyone else did too! I had a similar experience to Sci fi as you describe regarding fantasy. When i was studying for my teaching degree I remember giving a presentation on the value of science fiction as a means of extrapolating a current circumstance to its’ logical conclusion. I didn’t think that this was a particularly revelatory idea and so was surprised when so many people were impressed with it. I believe the same is true of fantasy. the premise i believe of these genres is the expansion of ideas and the consequent dealing with their outcomes. That purpose as you intimate, can be achieved through the watching of the movie. It the movie piques interest then getting watchers to become readers is that much easier!

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