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Saturday 18 November 2017
Life & Style

Book movies encourage reading

DEBBIE JACOB

Nothing pleases me more than to discover a book being made into a movie because I know this guarantees more students will read the book.

Some people don’t believe that could possibly be true. They think that most children will opt to see the movie without reading the book.

The good news is I now have statistics to back up this observation.

There really is proof that movies really encourage children to read more.

The statistics have been provided by the Accelerated Reader (AR) programme in the US, a popular reading programme that is used in about 30,000 US schools with a total of about ten million students.

Students take a comprehension test after reading the book, and this allows the programme to track the popularity of a book.

A recent article in the Atlantic produced data from the AR software programme. It showed that fewer than 3,000 students had read the The Maze Runner by James Dashner, which was written in 2007.

When the movie deal was announced in 2013, children who read the book jumped to more than 10,000 children. If you think that’s just a fluke, consider this: In February of 2012, the month before the movie The Hunger Games, based on the book by Suzanne Collins, was released, about 70,000 school children had read popular dystopian novel. In April, the month after the movie’s debut, 180,000 students read The Hunger Games.

Not every book recorded a spike in reading. AR statistics didn’t show an increase in students reading The Give by Lois Lowry or The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald. This could be because these two books are time-honoured classics that have a relatively high, steady readership anyway. As the article pointed out, these books are often assigned reading in class.

This makes the statistics associated with modern books like The Maze Runner and The Hunger Games even more interesting because these are books that children choose to read. “Maybe it’s a social thing. (Children) want to be able to talk about the movie and the book with their friends,” the article speculates. There also seems to be an interest in comparing books with movies. Even children want to know how close the movie was to the book.

Of course the article also points out a possible chicken-and-egg question. “…is the book surging in popularity because of the movie, or was the movie made because producers noticed it gaining popularity among kids?”

Most people think it could be a little bit of both. The important point, the article points out is that parents should no longer worry about children not wanting to read a book after seeing the movie.

“This data suggests you should worry about something else.”

As I have been saying for some time, when you hear about a movie that is based on a book, you should use that opportunity to entice your children to read the book. If you can’t do that, still let them see the movie and then encourage them to read the book.

It’s a good idea to google books turning into movies. There’s a long list every year, and that list, you’ll soon find out, can be your best friend when it comes to luring your children into the habit of reading.

In 2018, you’ll find the following books being turned into movies: Bluebeard by Kurt Vonnegut, The Invisible Man by HG Wells, Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter, All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows, and much more.

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