Today as I began to read Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets to my class I shared with them that Mr. Scannell and I were halfway through the first part of the last movie. We have been working our way through the movies before visiting Harry Potter World this April. Many of the children have watched the movies and/or read several of the books.
It was then that the murmurings began.
“Some of the movies get confusing,” spoke one.
“Yeah, I don’t always get what is going on,” added another.
“And they skip so much, it’s hard to figure it out,” a third replied.
That teachable moment had arrived!
“Boys and girls,” I intervened, “It sounds like you are having trouble following some of what is going on in the Harry Potter movies and books. Let’s talk about that for a minute.”
We then began a conversation we have had many times before; sometimes you are just not ready for a book. It is too grown up for you. And it is ok if you read it but you probably won’t get everything out of it that you will if you read it again when you are older. A lot of heads were nodding because we have discussed this often and they really do seem to get it.
Then a new thought dawned on me! All year we have been working on reading strategies to aid in the comprehension of the books they are reading. But they also need to use similar strategies when watching movies! Movies deliver a story in a whole new way. There are no captions or word bubbles telling us what a character is thinking , feeling, or planning to do. We need to gain that information from the actor’s performance. And it is up to the director to help the actor show us what we, the viewer, needs to understand! We depend on authors to show us what we need to know when we read a book but in a movie it is the director and the skill of the actor.
Well my class really seemed to grasp this idea! We related it to the way we read books, as if they are gold or as if we are an old curmudgeon. Movie watching requires a similar attitude. Do we just lay back and watch what is happening on the screen or do we sit up and pay attention to the story? They seemed to really be interested in trying this new idea, of applying their reading skills to the watching of movies.
And since it is the new “Beauty and the Beast” movie weekend, what better time than now to try!