Approaches to Thinking about Film and Literature: Adapting Literature to Capture Authentic Understandings

byCarolyn L. Streets

Students who are authentically engaged in reading ask questions about the text, make their own interpretations, and connect the stories they read to their own lives. Moving from written works to their film counterparts opens the original piece to different kinds of interpretations. My unit focuses on creating a space in which students read through different lenses, produce different meanings, outcomes, and understandings in order to strengthen critical thinking skills and to build an infinite capacity for meaning. By examining the underlying embedded themes and then seeing how those ideas are adapted into other media, students will be better positioned to make higher ordered inferences. What impact might a documentary, movie, or animated version have on the readers? What might students notice that they otherwise may have missed in the text version? What connections can students make between text and film versions? Adaptation, the transformation of text to film, is apropos to this unit tentatively titled Adapting Literature to Capture Authentic Understandings as it seeks to present strategies to help students use select literary devices in order to help them understand implied universal themes.

(Developed for English Language Arts, grade 7; recommended for English Language Arts, grades 9-10)

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