Discovering the Joy of Reading through Film


joy of reading

If you are concerned because your child doesn’t show much interest in reading, consider enticing her or him to discover the joy of reading with movies. Many books have been adapted into film. Who doesn’t love the movies? This might be the way you can convert your reluctant reader into someone who can’t put the book down.

My assumption here is that there aren’t any other underlying issues with your child’s reading. That’s another article. I am talking about generating your child’s interest in written stories using another medium. Movies are a great way to connect kids to books.

The rule in my house is book first, then movie.

I strongly recommend this approach. Aside from the fact that the movie is enjoyed as a reward after a book is completed, I want my kids to use their imagination as they read, particularly if it’s a book without illustrations. If they see the movie first, they will retain a predetermined image in their heads of the characters, the setting and the like. I prefer them to conjure this themselves, without the help of Hollywood. It is then a far more creative and challenging process.

This isn’t a perfect science because they might see a movie prior to reading the book while at a friend’s house. We will still read the book, and instead make connections from the story on the page to that which is on the screen. Kids like to call out what they find different, which is instructive unto itself. Seeing a film first may also be a good strategy for any young readers who lack confidence in their skills. Familiarity with the story line and characters may give them the boost they need to get through the book.

Kids can be introduced to various authors through film.

For example, many of Roald Dahl’s works have been adapted to the big screen. You could start with reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and then celebrate the completion of the book with a movie night and candy party. This may very well tempt them to read other stories by Dahl, and you could easily devour a whole series of his books.

Film adaptations from books have become a phenomenon within the young adult genre. From Twilight to The Hunger Games, vampires and dystopian futures have become all the rage and have found a place in popular culture. I’ll bet that many parents are grateful for how their teens have been snapping up those titles at bookshops and libraries. While these books were a hit prior to the release of the movies, the films will have cemented their popularity and engaged even more readers. Harry Potter is a big deal in my house, and we’re having a blast reading the books together and then screening the films.

If you are initially not able to convince your child to read the book before watching the movie, then show them a film that’s within a certain genre that might appeal. The key is to not treat reading as a forced activity, but as a pleasurable and gratifying pursuit. View a fantasy or adventure picture and introduce the Percy Jackson series. Show James and the Giant Peach and get them into Dahl.

Have faith that the promise of a movie just might lead your kids to the page. Watching movies may help your kids discover the joy of reading, and watching that might be better than any film you might see.


About Author

Stacey Cline is an elementary school teacher and educational consultant. She is amazed by what she learns from her students every day. Stacey is passionate about reading, and has amassed a fantastic collection of children’s literature that her family enjoys daily. She lives in Toronto with her husband, two daughters and two cats. As a result, she loves strong espresso and good wine. Stacey can be reached at

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