In most American public school classrooms, one will find students who struggle with reading, whether due to lack of skill or ability, or apathy, or distraction. I teach at a relatively diverse inner-city school and have seen readers of all backgrounds struggle with comprehension, analysis, and engagement. This, again, oftentimes stems from the obligatory nature of the work. Kids who put down their screens on occasion, who enjoy reading and choose to do it with their free time, are rare. Too rare. Books have a lot more competition than they used to. Therefore, since our students are so enamored with screens, it may even be considered educationally irresponsible in today’s landscape
to bring the screen to them. As many times as I have seen a student contort their face in psychosomatic sickness or feigned misery over reading text from a page, I have seen another student light up in relief or even excitement when they learn a movie is being shown in class.
There is a natural link between books and films – stories. By studying adaptation we study the essence of stories as perceived by the filmmakers, the actors, the screenwriting and effects. Taking a close look at how a story is taken from text to screen reinforces both media as modes of storytelling, and is important for high school students to understand. This curricular unit is intended for upperclassmen (11
grade regular level to honors English students), but could be utilized for any grade level 9 – 12.