Getting Kids to Read the Book When They’ve Already Seen the Movie

Reading a book allows for something that watching a film does not: your own unique version of the story.

Here at RIF, we love to get you talking. We share stories about books and reading, we share essays from talented authors, we post reviews of fabulous books, we muse about all things bookish. We always want to hear from you.

But today, I need to hear from you. I need your advice!

My 10-year-old stepdaughter doesn’t read much for pleasure. She does well with her reading for school, but when she has free time, she rarely picks up a book. We have “family reading time” on the couch every night after dinner, she sees her dad and me reading all the time, but so far, our bookwormishness hasn’t rubbed off.

I want to share the magic of books with her, the way a book is a window to the world, the way a book – unlike a film – invites you to use your imagination to create the story in your mind. The characters and the setting are the way you see them as you read, your own unique version of the story.

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When my stepdaughter and I go to the library, I recommend some of my favorites from when I was her age: The Secret Garden, Anne of Green Gables, The Chronicles of Narnia, A Wrinkle in Time.

Her response to all of them? “I’ve seen the movie, I don’t need to read the book.”

How can I encourage her to experience the book when she “already knows the ending” after seeing the movie? I’m thrilled that Hollywood so often turns to books for inspiration, but it makes it challenging to engage kids with the book when they watch the movie first. Have you experienced this? Any and all advice welcome!

Read more on The Best in ‘Book to Film’, according to RIFers!

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Is it worthwhile to read the book after you’ve seen the film adaptation? Tell us why or why not in a comment!

About Kira Walton

KIRA WALTON has been stalking books all her life as a college English teacher, bookseller, book club consultant, author, and editor.

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