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Read, Watch, and Discuss

Use books and movies together to deepen comprehension.
on October 30, 2014
 

While watching the film adaptation of Divergent, by Veronica Ross, I was struck by the differences between the book and film. Intellectually I know that movies are rarely able to stay 100% accurate to the book yet I am always struck by the omissions, the character portrayals, and even sometimes completely different endings.

These differences are fantastic learning tools.

I have always been a great cheerleader for using the movie versions of books as motivation for reading but this next step promotes thinking as well. After you read a book with your children or they read it independently, grab some popcorn and watch the movie together.

After the film is over, be ready to chat. Here's a list of general discussion questions that you can use to kick start a lively discussion about the differences. Discussions like these will give your children a chance to formulate arguments (that aren't about cleaning their room or doing homework), and support their positions with evidence. It's a good idea to have the book on hand because every reader will have remembered different parts of the book more clearly than others.

Also, choose the questions that you think would encourage the most in-depth discussion. The goal of this exercise is to entice your child to dig deeper into the story.

1.    Do you feel like the movie represented the book well?

2.    Did the director's vision of the setting match yours?

3.    Was there any character that you liked in the book but didn't like in the movie?

4.    If you could swap one actor out for another who was not in the film, whom would it be?

5.    How did music help set the tone for the movie?

6.    If you could choose a few songs to match up with scenes in the book which would you choose?

7.    What are some of the plot elements that didn't make it into the movie? Do you think the overall story still remained true to the original?

8.    Were there any events in the movie that were not in the book at all? Do you think they should have been included?

9.    Do you think the author was happy after seeing the film? Why? Why not?

10.    Which did you enjoy more: the book or the movie?

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In the Raise a Reader blog, get advice, tips, and resources from our expert contributors on helping your child read at every age and stage. Each week, find book recommendations, literacy activities, and more to spark your reader's interests.

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