The buttery popcorn, the delicious candy, the big screen... who doesn't love a movie? The answer used to be, “I don’t!”, when one of my favorite student literature circle books was turned into a movie! Now, instead of being angry every time I see a trailer for yet another one of my teaching books on the big screen, I have decided to embrace these books turned into movies. Lights, camera, action... let's start reading!
Before the school day begins, I like to hold book clubs for students. Last year, in order to motivate more students to join these book clubs, I decided to start using books that had been made into movies. The students and I read the book and then we watched the movie version as a reward. Even though my students considered watching the movie a treat, it still had an academic purpose. After watching the movie, I assigned a compare and contrast activity for the movie and the book. We noted differences and similarities between the two and discussed how both could have been made better. Finally, we debated which version was better, the book or the movie.
There are so many wonderful novels that have been turned into movies that I wouldn't know where to start a suggested reading list. I will say that over the years my students have enjoyed our author studies. When kids find an author they really like and we read several books by that author, they appreciate and develop a familiarity with the author's writing style and techniques. We also like to compare and contrast that author's plots and characters across various books. I have done this kind of movie-inspired author study with authors such as Roald Dahl and Kate DiCamillo.
This movie-inspired book club can, of course, be organized during the school day rather than before school, depending on your district’s rules. Regardless of when you hold a movie-inspired book club, download the TheMovie vs. The BookCompare and Contrast Organizer to use with your students. I use this download after we have read the book and watched the movie. Be sure to have your students take plenty of notes, while reading the book and watching the movie, to ensure for an in-depth compare and contrast activity. I promise, that your students will love these movie-inspired book clubs, but remind them: The book is always better than the movie... or at least most of the time it is!