The promise of a great movie offers more than mere passive entertainment for young learners. It can become incentive to read.
Visually stunning with Epic music, Legend of the Guardians: the Owls of Ga’Hoole promises to captivate young audiences. Audiences may be unaware that the movie is based on a series by Kathryn Lasky. The Imax 3D format may bring her story to life in a way that compliments the book, if director Zack Snyder hits the mark.
The problem with entertainment technology
Left to themselves, children find little reason to open a book in the modern world. Movies, video games, and YouTube take up so much time and energy, offer so much easy entertainment. It’s become increasingly difficult to show a child the value in books. Parents must be involved and creative.
Literature can become a major feature in a child’s life.
Rather than let the flickering screen become a roadblock to reading, why not use them to advantage? Now that technology has advanced far enough to allow realistic depictions of book characters, more and more written stories make it to the movie and gaming audience. Instead of stealing thunder from the printed word, this can help parents and educators.
Incorporate literature in your daily life. Soren is an owl in the Guardians of Ga’Hoole story. He is also a goat on my mini farm. After reading the book, my home schooled daughter chose the name herself. In my home, the character Soren will never be forgotten because he is a part of our daily lives. The same is true of Gimli, the famous dwarf of the Lord of the Rings, now also a dog in our home.
For even greater impact and preservation of the full reading experience, offer the book before the movie. In fact, make the movie the reward for reading the book. In my home, no movie precedes a book. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nihm became all the more engaging once my daughter learned of Disney’s The Secret of Nihm. Shakespeare’s character Puck from A Midsummer Night’s Dream became my child’s favorite Webkinz toy.
Parlay performances into classical education.
West Georgia Children’s Theatre offered a version of Oliver. For the creative parent, this opens the door to both book and movie. The same is possible with dance productions and musical presentations. The Nutcracker features the music of Tchaikovsky. Play and discuss Tchaikovsky, then enjoy The Nutcracker ballet as a family. Don’t forget Disney’s Fantasia.
Making movies, and even video games, into movies is now par for the course.
Lord of the Rings and Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nihm are just two tales parents can reinforce with movies. Several video games have also found their way onto the big screen. Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, directed by Mike Newell, promises a cultural perspective matched by the Nintendo game. Lord of the Rings and Halo are also in video game format. The former began life as a book series by Tolkien, the latter a video game.
The following is a short list of old and new classics now featured as movies.
The Black Stallion by Walter Farley
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
The Guardians of Ga’Hoole series by Kathryn Lasky
Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
Animal Farm by George Orwell
Visual media entertainments often serve as distractions from classical learning. The creative and involved parent can make these distractions into reading temptations and incentives.