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Lesson Plan

Get the Reel Scoop: Comparing Books to Movies

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Get the Reel Scoop: Comparing Books to Movies

Grades 3 – 5
Estimated Time Five 40-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Sharon Roth

Sharon Roth

Urbana, Illinois


National Council of Teachers of English



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From Theory to Practice



This lesson takes advantage of the phenomenon of film versions of literature by asking students to compare and contrast books with their movie counterparts. The process of comparing and contrasting teaches students to think critically about different forms of media presented to them. Students first read a book and analyze the literary elements of the text. They then watch the film version, using a graphic organizer to compare elements of the book and film versions. Next, they discuss which changes they think improved the book and which changes they think were a bad idea. Finally, they select a scene from the book that they think wasn't well represented in the movie and adapt it for a readers theater performance.

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Grades 35 Book and Film List: This list includes books appropriate for grades 35 that have been made into movies.

Getting Into Readers Theater: This reproducible includes instructions and criteria for adapting a scene from a book into a readers theater performance.

Readers Theater Reflection: These prompts for student reflection can be used to assess students' choices as they adapt a scene for readers theater.

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Using films in the classroom has a value, especially when students are asked to think critically in relationship to the stories they see. Michelle Whipple explains that when we add movies to the curriculum, "we provide expanded and extended learning experiences and opportunities for making intertextual connections for all of our students" (149). When classroom activities, like this lesson, explicitly focus on intertextual connections by comparing different versions of the same story, students move beyond basic analysis to the more sophisticated skill of comparing their analysis of two different texts.

Further Reading

Whipple, Michelle. "Let's Go to the Movies: Rethinking the Role of Film in the Elementary Classroom." Language Arts 76.2 (November 1998): 140-150.

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