Finding ways to help students connect with the literature read in English classes can be difficult. Even more difficult is finding ways to help students connect with the literature while also assessing their comprehension.
In order to do this, many teachers show the film version of a book after the class is done reading it. But what does this really achieve, other than to provide students with a mini break before moving onto the next piece of literature. Does it help you understand who comprehended the book? Does it help students who missed critical parts catch up?
Too often, the answer is no. The movie, while it may be the closest adaptation available, often leaves out critical elements that are necessary for grasping literary elements.
While showing the film version can serve to excite students who either do not like reading or simply were not interested in this novel, showing it at the end of the section may prove too little too late. Instead, try to catch those students early on by showing clips of the movie while still reading the book in class.
This can be done by showing a clip related to the previous night’s reading in order to help students who may have struggled with the reading understand what is going on or by showing a clip related to that night’s reading if you think it is a particularly difficult section.
Regardless of which method is used, be sure to include discussion of how the clip varied from the original story in the following discussion. Another trick that can be used to entice students to complete the reading is to have them create predications about what will happen next based on the reading and the movie clip. Alternatively, have students create charts comparing the film version to the book version.
Whatever method you choose, using short clips of the video (you could even mix clips from different adaptations) throughout the unit is bound to be more effective at increasing students comprehension and excitement than waiting until the end of the book to watch the entire movie at once.
How do you use film to excite students?