Re-imagining Reading Using Modern Film Updates of Classic Stories

byRobert M. Schwartz

If words are creativity, then they are art. This is where the discipline of creative writing comes in, as well as that of screenwriting and therefore film-making. The two forms of media, while wholly different, are inextricably linked by that foundational, historic art form – storytelling. In a modern educational landscape where screen is preferred to page, it may be advantageous to stress the importance of both. There are lessons we can get from reading words that no screen will show us; as there are artistic things that can be done with images that could never be accomplished on the page. It is imperative, therefore, to make it clear for students that it is not better to see the movie, but to see the movie too. The simultaneous study of original, written story and its film adaptation can be a powerful learning tool, especially when the film in question is a vast re-imagining, paying concrete due to the original classic story while updating it for the modern imagination and culture. This curricular unit explores this consideration for several classic stories and their modern, reimagined film counterparts, with the intention of allowing students to apply their study of adaptation to their own independent reading.

(Developed and recommended for English, grades 11-12)

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