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Lesson Plan

You Know the Movie is Coming—Now What?

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You Know the Movie is Coming—Now What?

Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Three 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Lisa Storm Fink

Lisa Storm Fink

Urbana, Illinois


National Council of Teachers of English


Student Objectives

Session One

Session Two

Session Three


Student Assessment/Reflections



Students will

  • examine and apply cinematic terms.

  • improve comprehension by interpreting, analyzing, synthesizing and evaluating written text.

  • categorize text in terms of film terminology as a means of predicting while reading.

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Session One

  1. Ask students to discuss a movie version of a favorite book that will be coming soon to a local theater, using the following questions to guide the discussion:

    • What do you most look forward to?

    • What scene do you think must be included in the movie?

    • What are you afraid the director may leave out?

    • What scenes do you think can be left out without affecting the plot?

    • Do you think the movie will stay true to the text?
  2. In pairs, ask students to share with each other their experiences of viewing films made from literary texts, using the following questions to shape the conversation:

    • How closely did the movie follow the text?

    • Was watching the movie version a positive or negative experience?
  3. After the paired discussion, invite volunteers to share some thoughts with the class.

  4. Direct students the online glossary of cinematic terms, or pass out copies of the film terms handout.

  5. In pairs or small groups, provide some time for students to read and discuss the glossary.

  6. Gather the class, and ask students to share some of the terms that were interesting to them as well as any general feedback. Answer any questions the students have about any of the terms.

  7. Again in pair or small groups, invite students to share examples from movies they have seen where some of these methods have been utilized. Share an example from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: there should be a low angle shot the first time we meet Willy Wonka.

  8. Ask students if they know of any books or other texts that are currently being made into a movie. If desired, explore the selected books turned into movies.

  9. Record the brainstormed list of movies on the board or chart paper.

  10. Explain the project to students:

    • From a list of books made in to movies, you will choose a text to read, as a way of predicting and thinking about the text to the movie.

    • Referring to the film terms from the handout or online glossary, read the text with the eye of a movie director.

    • Record your thoughts on the bookmark, predicting the decisions that you think the director will make.
  11. Share the directions for the project with the students:

    • On the front of the bookmark, write the title, author, and your name. Use the remaining room on the front of the bookmark to recreate the book jacket or draw a scene from their favorite passage.

    • On the back of the bookmark, use the available space to predict the decisions you think the director will make, critical scenes you think should be included, and related film terms. Mark the page number of the example and the additional details on the bookmark as you read the text.

    • During the activity and once students have finished reading the texts, you’ll share your bookmarks in pairs or small groups. Keep an eye out for similarities and new ideas.

    • When the movie is released at the theater or on DVD, we’ll view the movie and compare our bookmarks and cinematic ideas to what actually occurs on the big screen.
  12. Share the self-assessment for the bookmark, the bookmark template, and the example Charlie and the Chocolate Factory bookmark.

  13. Since the project may inspire students, offer several different publishing options:

  14. Answer any questions that students have about the project. Since they will be working independently, make sure that they understand the activity before concluding the session.

  15. Once you’re satisfied that students understand the assignment, they can begin reading the literary work, filling out the bookmark as they read.

  16. If students are all reading the same book, encourage students to interact with one another, to share and receive feedback.

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Session Two

  1. Continue reading until all texts have been completed, or set a deadline for the reading to be completed.

  2. Prompt students as they read to fill out their bookmarks with predictions of the director’s decisions, using the film terms the handout or online glossary and examples from the book.

  3. Remind students to refer to the self-assessment sheet to make sure that they include all the required elements.

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Session Three

  1. When students’ reading is completed and the bookmarks are filled in, gather students to discuss the books that they have read.

  2. Ask students to share brief summaries of their books (without revealing the ending, of course).

  3. Ask students to share their bookmarks, which include page numbers of passages from the books that illustrate different film terms.

  4. When the movies from the project are available, view them as a class.

  5. Invite the students who read the books to act as moderators.

  6. Open the floor for discussion, asking students to share their bookmarks and any similarities they found between their predictions and the film.

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  • After viewing the film version of a literary text, invite students to write a movie review. Look at examples of other movie reviews for inspiration and examples of the details that should be included.

  • While there are many great texts that have been made into films, there are a number that have not. Invite students to write a play or skit turning their favorite text into a performance.

  • Invite students to create DVD covers that illustrate their depiction of a scene using the CD/DVD Cover Creator.

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Informal feedback from students who read the bookmarks and search out the related book are excellent feedback for students. For more formal assessment, meet with the students and discuss their Bookmark Self-Assessment sheet, which is tied to the key elements that should be included on the bookmark.

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