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Lesson Plan

Comparing a Literary Work to Its Film Interpretation

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Grades 9 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Five 60-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Lisa L. Owens

Lisa L. Owens

Issaquah, Washington


International Literacy Association



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From Theory to Practice



In this lesson, high school students look critically at the literary work "The Pit and the Pendulum" by Edgar Allan Poe and its 1961 film interpretation. They use prediction strategies to form and refine their opinions about the story line progression in each work. They read the short story, screen the film, discuss reactions to both works, and plan and write a persuasive essay analyzing the validity of the film interpretation. This lesson is ideally suited for students who have experience with persuasive writing, and it can be adapted to work with any literature-film pairing.

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Persuasion Map: This helpful tool allows students to break down their persuasive arguments into main ideas and supporting details.

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Golden, John. 2001. Reading in the Dark: Using Film as a Tool in the English Classroom. Urbana, IL: NCTE.

Students often find the visual nature of film more accessible than works in print. When film and literature are used together in the classroom, students can transfer techniques from active viewing (which often comes more naturally) to their experience with reading literature. This transfer can enhance their skills as active readers and enable them to respond to a variety of media with more depth.

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