To Book or Not to Book?

Reading is EssentialToday was another fun-filled day at the library. We hit the children’s section first and made sure to fill our book basket to the brim. Next, the kids asked to grab a video for over the weekend.

Visiting the movie section is always a treat, but there are times that mommy has to make some tough decisions. Making sure the movie is clean is of the first and foremost importance, but a close second would be to check if there is a book that this movie is based on.

Then mommy has to inform said child that while, yes, the movie is available, they are not permitted to watch the movie if the book hasn’t been read. Ouch!

While the kids will occasionally groan and complain about our movie/book policy, I believe they understand its importance.

If they were to watch the movie first, it is highly doubtful the book would ever be read. Now that they know the story, why should they bother with spending hours reading it?

If they read the books first, they will have a better understanding of the story and often appreciate the movie even more. There are no details that have been cut or unnecessary additions, it is read as the author intended.

While on occasion our children have liked the movie just as much as the book, I have yet to hear that they enjoy a movie more. They have always appreciated the books much more than the films.

One fun way we have helped encourage our children to read through their books is to reward them with a “special viewing” of the corresponding film. Once the book has been finished, the movie is rented and they are allowed to stay up later than the other kids and watch the film with mom and dad.

Each child, in turn, is allowed the same privilege once a book has been completed. We have done this with the Narnia series, Bridge to Tarabithia, City of Ember, The Hunger Games, and many (many, many) more!

Our children not only smoke through books, but we then have the opportunity to critically think about each venue. How did the movie compare to the book? Which similarities or differences were noticed? Was there a lesson to be learned?

While reading the books has been an essential part of our lives, watching the movies has definitely added something to our learning.

While, I am sure, I have neglected a few books along the way, we have been very faithful to our book policy. When we come across a new film for our amusement, the question always arises…. To book or not to book? (But, yes, of course!)

Do you make your children read the book, before watching the movie?


11 thoughts on “To Book or Not to Book?

  1. That is such a great idea! I’ve always read the books first for the same reason, and I don’t know why it hasn’t yet occurred to me to “help” my kids reach the same conclusion. Might be that they are 6,5 and soon-to-be 4, but we already read a lot, so it’s a natural progression. 🙂 Thank you for visiting my blog, this is my first year home schooling but I was homeschooled throughout my academic career. Have a wonderful… …evening (here at least) 😀


  2. I hadn’t thought about that idea. Younger kids might not be able to sit through being read some of the longer books, and of course might not be able to read it themselves, but I like the idea for older kids.


  3. I am so glad u posted this as I’d not even considered this! Crazy, but true. We, too, are book-a-holics here @ my house, not including my husband! He will only read those things HE deems necessary, such as: anything by Dave Ramsey (understandably so, as the man is sheer genius) & the Bible (this is a no-brainer & so thankful that dh willingly does this)! I guarantee that from this day forward, this policy of yours will definitely be instilled in my home as well! Thank you for the wonderful idea!!


  4. I have found that a movie often serves as an ‘appatiser’ to read the book(s) – then again, these are animation stories like Bambi, 101 Dalmations, Jock of the Bushveld, Winnie the Pooh, etc.
    And then on the otherhand if they see something in a book that reminds them of a character from a movie, then we just have to buy/borrow the book. For instance the Madagascar animation series led to us having to read up on Africa’s wild animals, Garfield stories made Adam want to know more about cats, etc.


  5. We usually read the book first, especially if it is a harder, style read in order to give the kids a motivation to finish the book. We did this with Pilgrims Progress (which indeed benefits the mature 9yr old and on up as even the movie is hard to follow; I was grateful for dh guidance on this one, lol). Summer of the Monkeys was one of our favorites, both book and movie. =)
    Charlottes Web was backward as I didn’t know it was a book at first, ba ha.


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