Books vs. Movies & Technology to Help Spur Reading

Recently, I have found a resurgence of reading among tweens as they are getting their noses back into  novels.  This week, it is spurred by the upcoming release of Hunger Games in the theaters. Many tweens are reaching for the book to capture the true essence of the stories before checking it out in the theater. I believe that this has been spawned by best sellers for teen and adult novels being adapted into well done movies including Harry Potter, The Help, Twilight, Water for Elephants, and The Girl with the Dragoon Tattoo.

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Encouraging your children to read the novels before going to the movie allows the child to practice reading skills and to develop their own opinions and imagination of the ideas and concepts in the novel.  Then when watching the movie, it provides a child an outlet to compare and contrast the similarities and differences from the book to the movie along with their perceived ideas.  Encouraging the children to create an informal book and movie club with their peers would then provide another venue for them to share their opinions.  It could then be a weekend event with reading and a trip to the movies.  You can also model this behavior by reading an adult novel before going to see the movie, and also establishing a book/movie club.

However, sometimes, it is not easy to encourage a child to read a book before seeing the movie.  Sometimes, children view watching the movie first as an easy way out, so that they do not have to read the book.  They may think that knowing the plot or the story would ruin the movie.  The ideas previously discussed can help to encourage the child to read the book and watch the movie, and promote ways to enjoy and learn from both.

Websites to Find Good Books

One great website to help you find grade level and reading level appropriate books is Scholastic’s Book Wizard.   Searches can be done based on a title, author, key word, or even books that are similar to what your child already reads and enjoys, called “Book Alike”. The “Book Alike” feature is what really sets this website apart.  You can type in the title of a book that your child already enjoys and then adjust the reading level higher, lower, or the same, to then get other books that they think your child would enjoy reading at home.  General search results include information about the title of the book, author, interest level, grade level, and genre.

Suggestions for Good Book & Movie Combos has a tweens site for popular movies based on books that have been released in the past few years.  Among the list includes books that engage young readers like Bridge to Terabithia, Percy Jackson & The Lightening Thief, Inkheart, Narnia, and Lemony Snicket’s.  This site provides the name of the book, the author, a brief summary, rating of the movie, and any awards the book or movie has won.  This is a great resource for parents to come up with suggestions for child of books to read that have movie counterparts.  There are also suggestions for younger children with additional links at the bottom of this site.

Reading is such an important skill that revolves around all learning aspects.  Encouraging your child to read while integrating the movie adaption is a great way to catch their attention and get them reading.

Article By Laura Ketcham-VanHellemont

Picture By courosa

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