Guest Post: www.readbrightly.com
How Movies Can Help Young Children Enjoy Classic Books
by Lindsay Barrett
After test-driving life in several major cities, Lindsay Barrett moved back to her small hometown by the ocean in Maine to work as a literacy consultant and freelance writer. She's constantly surprised that her pre-parenthood experience as a kindergarten teacher doesn't make her chaotic household of five kids under ten feel more manageable and she relies heavily on reading aloud just to get them to sit still. When not chasing little people, she writes literacy curriculum materials, resources, and digital content for educators and parents.
Parents aim to provide their kids with the most enriching experiences possible, which often includes finding alternatives to screen time. What if the occasional well-placed movie viewing could benefit your kids’ reading lives, though? When it comes to classic books, enjoying their movie versions has some specific pluses.
As a family, we aren’t big movie watchers, and when a book I love is made into a movie, I rarely want to see it. However, after my four and six-year-olds saw “Paddington 2” with their grandparents, the flurry of enthusiastic requests to read the classic stories from The Paddington Treasury by Michael Bond was an unexpected benefit. In the spirit of that success, here are some ways that seeing a film version of a book (even — gasp! — seeing the movie first) could be beneficial for young children:
Movies can help kids process grown-up themes.
Children’s books have their share of complex themes. My son more confidently managed the tear-jerking circle-of-life aspects of Charlotte’s Web because he’d already had the chance to mull over them when he watched the movie. Being freed from worrying that Wilbur would die definitely helped him enjoy the listening journey. I haven’t had much success helping my kids appreciate the conservation themes of Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax, but perhaps a glimpse at the film version could give similar support.
Movies can build interest and engagement.
Today’s flashy book covers can make the more muted presentation of classic stories less attractive to today’s kids. When a classmate raved about the “Peter Rabbit” movie, though, my son eagerly dug out Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit. (This literary mama appreciated the fact that it was the mere mention of a movie that sparked this enthusiasm, not even an actual viewing!) I love Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson’s The Story of Ferdinand but the black and white illustrations have never drawn my kids in. I wonder if dropping a hint about the “Ferdinand” movie would sweeten the deal?
Will you try pairing classic books with movie versions to help your kids appreciate great literary works, or will you stick with the old-fashioned approach?
Books Mentioned in This Article:
by Roald Dahl, illustrated by Lane Smith
by Dr. Seuss
by Beatrix Potter
by Munro Leaf, illustrated by Robert Lawson
by Michael Bond, illustrated by R. W. Alley
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Join me again on Monday as I unwrap some more fantastic picture books to share with your kids. Happy reading until then!
*Blog Link: www.babybookworms.blogspot.ca
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