**This is a cross-post with our 4th Grade Reading Blog. Please visit and comment on our kid’s blogs!!**
I love reading and I love the movies, so I get very excited when books are turned into movies. It is always interesting to me to see how the books and movies differ from one another. I often wonder what the original author must think of movie interpretations of their works. Currently, I am reading a book called Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. I chose to read this book because I have seen the trailers for the film and they look intriguing. I am a stickler for reading the book first. Other book-movie combos that I have read-seen include The Help, TheHarry Potter series of films, The Reader, Glory (non-fiction), Pride and Prejudice, The Babysitter’s Club, The Birds, The Firm, The Client, The DaVinci Code, and Angels and Demons. I am particularly excited about the upcoming film interpretation of The Hunger Games as I became engrossed in reading the trilogy this past fall.
The trick when reading then watching is to allow oneself to become immersed in the medium at hand and try not to analyze during the process. When one watches the film after the book, I find it really important to focus on the movie’s telling of the tale without comparison. Comparison can come later. This becomes particularly challenging when films are produced in a series such asHarry Potter. I had read the first four books of HP before the first film came out. I found myself making glorious images of the characters in my head and pronouncing the names in my own fashion (HERM-ee-Oh-Ne instead of Her-MY-oh-Nee). However, once the films were introduced the character images of my own design ceased to exist and as I read the final three books, I saw the images of Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Gary Oldman, Ralph Fiennes, Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman, etc. instead. This is not entirely a bad thing, my desire to read the remaining books did not diminish but it made me curious as to the effect on young readers as they experience images before reading the books. When we see classical literature portrayed on-screen such as in Pride and Prejudice or The Scarlet Letter before we read the book have we robbed ourselves of the experience of making our own visualizations and allowing our own imaginations to take flight?
My suggestion for this predicament…read the book first! As educators and parents, we can take an active role in guiding our students and children to read widely and actively before watching the films. To respond to their writing through blogging, journaling, drawing, or conversation. The more you read, the more you know.