Since then, however, I’ve discovered how educational this activity can actually be – when I take the time to plan an intentional lesson.
My original, last minute lesson involved a blank Venn Diagram for students to fill in. There was nothing wrong with this, but my 3rd grade students usually didn’t spend much time thinking critically about the differences and similarities between the book and the movie. Instead, they simply wrote down the first things that came into their head, which usually were surface level observations.
I wanted my students to think more critically and more deeply.
I found the best way to encourage deeper thinking was to ask students some questions before watching the movie so that they would be thinking more critically while watching the movie. This also helped my 3rd graders think about what they expected from the movie.
Then, after the movie, I encouraged my students to think about very specific details about the book and movie, rather than just comparing and contrasting using the first thing that popped into their heads.
Not all of the questions I asked were directly related to comparing and contrasting the book and the movie, but these questions got students thinking more critically, which made their comparisons later more thoughtful.
Compare and Contrast: Movies vs. Books
When you ask people whether they prefer 'Movies or Books', you are likely to get a variety of replies. Some people will prefer reading books and other will prefer watching movies. There is another interesting phenomena and that is a section of the population that enjoy both equally.
For some people, reading a book is not the easiest activity in the world. We have all sometimes picked up a book and put it down after battling to read the first page. This is nothing to do with ability or concentration, it is to do with whether or not the book is of personal interest or whether the book actually meets our needs. In other words what is inside the covers of the book may not match the blurb on the outside which is very misleading and very disappointing. The same can be said for movies. How often have we all watched the trailers advertised on TV, thinking that the movie looks really interesting? Then follows the anticipation of going to the movies to watch it, or wait until its available to download and rent at home, only to watch the first ten minutes and realise that it is not going to get any better than 'boring'!
Sometimes it is easier to watch a movie rather than read the book. Some movies that are adaptations of books can enhance the setting, the scenery and dialogue. This is especially helpful for people who have experienced difficulty in learning to read, as watching the movie as well as reading the book can enhance the experience. A movie adaptation can enhance the experience of the book and can bring to life, and get transported into 'this other world'. Visual images are very powerful, but so is the experience of reading and development of our own images. It can also be argued that in order to use our imagination whilst reading we need to have some actual experience of the situation and that experience either comes through accurate and informative writing or visual images (movies).
There are several books that have been made into movies. The interpretation of a book into a movie is bound by resources and finance, and the visualisation of the director. Meanwhile reading the book, taps into the readers imagination, that does not have the same constraints and can be picked and put down at any convenient time.