This is the 4th blog about reading, a continuation of the previous two. Exploring the new reading curriculum (England) through film. To go back and read them from the start click here
Film is a very useful tool which can allow children to 'read' beyond the literal. Children who may find decoding difficult can often see things in films on a different level. Allowing them to develop their inference and deduction skills amongst others.
This blog will demonstrate how film can support the teaching of reading through books, it is important here that this process is not a replacement for reading and sharing high quality texts.
At Literacy Shed we have decided on a number of reading foci based upon the new curriculum.
To read about RF1 - RF 3 visit our first blog here.
RF4: Authorial Intent
Here the author's intent and the directors intent are the same thing. Film makers call the things that you seen in the frame 'Mise - en - scene' everything places in the frame is done so on purpose. Each object, costume choice, setting, colour choice etc has a meaning. You can use any film to study authorial intent. Asking questions such as: "Why has the director placed a candlestick on this table?" "Why is the light flickering in the room overhead?" Each of these would be done for a purpose. Perhaps the candlestick shows the scene is set in the past, the flickering light may show that the setting is run down and this may add to the tension of the scene.
The director/author chooses to not reveal who is at the door. He shows two shadows at the door. Why not show who it is? It builds then tension. It leaves the audience wondering who it is. The further shadows heighten the tension, especially when we see the silhouette of the gun outlined on the kitchen window.
RF5: Summarise, review and evaluate
Most teachers know the story of The BFG and now we have the film version to look forward to. I like to show the two openings from the films above. The BFG Teaser trailer and The Dreamgiver. Each have very similar openings. Pupils can evaluate the scenes against the opening of the original Roald Dahl text. They can discuss which they prefer and why. Asking questions such as: Which one is most effective? What is similar or different? Which of them makes you want to see what happens next?
Summarising is a useful skill in reading and when viewing films, asking children to retell the story through the main events. Write the plot as bullet points or even sum it up in 140 characters tweet style.
Exploring a number of texts across a theme allows pupils to understand events and characters to a greater depth. The Literacy Shed site is perfect for this as the sheds are broadly thematic. Here you can see four films which all deal with war and loss. They can all be found in The War and Peace Shed.
Children can compare how characters deal with the loss of somebody. We can compare the difference in The Piano, when the soldier loses a friend to the loss of the soldier in 'Germans in the Woods' when the man kills an enemy. Interestingly, both films provoke a discussion about guilt from the children, who decide both men feel guilty, either directly or indirectly.
Themes can be based on genre and character or on things like colour used, setting, period.
Performance has been given an elevated position in the new curriculum. Sharing performances by professional poets and actors allow children to study the rhythm, rhyme and actions. It allows non-readers to join in with what is being said too. As a teacher I know Mr Rosen here does a better job of performing this poem than I ever would!
As always I welcome your comments.