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Lesson Plan

Writing a Movie: Summarizing and Rereading a Film Script

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Grades 3 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Three 45-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Helen Hoffner, Ed.D.

Helen Hoffner, Ed.D.

Ridley Park, Pennsylvania


International Literacy Association



From Theory to Practice



Students are transformed into script writers in this lesson that develops skills in viewing, descriptive writing, and fluency. In this multisession lesson, students view a short film segment that has lots of action and little dialogue. While this lesson uses E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, the first 10 minutes of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade or The Lion King will work nicely with this lesson. As students view the scene in increments, they describe the action of the film as the teacher records the sentences students dictate. After students have watched the scene in its entirety, they listen to a reading of their descriptions and work to improve descriptions and revise any inaccuracies. Students are then assigned parts of the script and perform a dramatic reading of the script as the movie plays in the background. Fluency is key in this lesson because students must match the timing of their reading with the images on the screen.

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Hoffner, H. (2003). Writing a Movie. The Reading Teacher, 57, 7881.

Writing a Movie provides an opportunity for students to write a description of a film scene and then reread the description to prepare for a schoolwide performance. Students receive feedback on their reading from teachers, classmates, and members of the school community. The rereading takes place in an age-appropriate, purposeful manner and contributes to reading fluency.

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