Which is Better?

The Book or the Movie?


Thinking comparatively is an essential skill for students to be able to do. Research done by Marzano, Pickering, and Pollock in 2001 states that strategies that engage students in comparative thinking have the greatest effect on student achievement (Silver, 2010). In today's society, more and more books are being made into movies everyday. We know that the book is much more rich and complex than the movie versions could ever be. As teachers, we try to get our students to read the book version before seeing the movie because if our students watch the movie version, most will never actually then pick up the book. This strategy gets students to read first and watch second, as well as having them compare and contrast across different presentations while citing evidence to support their claims.


  1. Pick a novel that has a movie/trailer already made and is at an appropriate reading level for the students. In my classroom, we did The City of Ember and The Giver (this movie comes out in August 2014 so the trailer is available for viewing). Other possibilities include: Percy Jackson: The Lighting Thief, Divergent, Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, The Chronicles of Narnia, etc. Most movie trailers can be viewed at http://IMDB.com.
  2. Students read their novels, and at the conclusion of the novel they then watch the movie, part of the movie, or the trailer. (Note: The students do not need to watch the whole movie for this activity to work. My students only watched the trailers of each film and it worked well.)
  3. Students use a Venn diagram to compile their thoughts of similarities and differences.
  4. Students write a one paragraph response where they cite evidence from both the text and the movie/trailer to support their writing.


  • Pick books or novels that have movie versions/trailers already made.
  • Allow students to read their text.
  • Have students compare and contrast between the two versions of the story using a Venn diagram. (Most will be surprised at how many differences there are! I know my students were!) You can find an online interactive Venn diagram at http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/interactives/venn_diagrams/.
  • Have students present their similarities and differences in a variety of ways. Possibilities include a Google doc (http://docs.google.com) or a Glog (http://www.glogster.com) The possibilities are endless!


IMDb.com. The City of Ember. Retrieved from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0970411/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

IMDb.com. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Retrieved from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0241527/?ref_=nv_sr_2

IMDb.com. Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief. Retrieved from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0814255/?ref_=nv_sr_2

ReadWriteThink. Interactive Venn Diagram. http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/interactives/venn_diagrams/

Silver, Harvey F. (2010). Section 1: Why Compare and Contrast? Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/110126/chapters/Section-1@-Why-Compare-$-Contrast%C2%A2.aspx