We live in a visual world and we love to be entertained. Our everyday lives are so stressful and busy that at the end of the day, we need a break. It’s great to escape for an hour or two and not have to worry about cooking, cleaning, laundry, and kids. Or, if we are kids it’s great to escape from the demands of parents giving chores, homework from school, friends and their problems, and the school-day itself. There’s so much going on in our lives that sitting down to read a book that will take weeks to finish doesn’t sound fun. It sounds boring. It sounds like school work. It sounds awful.

And sometimes, it is school work. Sometimes there’s an assignment to read a book for an  assignment. Sometimes there’s a test at the end of each chapter. So why read the book if there’s a movie version. It will be so much easier and save so much time if we just watch the movie version.

What’s the Problem With the Film Version of a novel?

Really, there’s nothing wrong with the film version. There are many great books that have been successfully converted to the Silver Screen. If it’s for entertainment, it’s usually great. However, teachers will often show the different film versions of a play or novel to show the artistic choices a director makes. Students can see how one version might be more effective than another, and how the characters vary from one version to the next. For classroom conversation though, it’s difficult to have a conversation about The Hobbit as it’s read in class while some students are making references to the film version. They are very similar, but there are some things that happen in the book that don’t happen in the film, and things that happen in the film that don’t take place in the book.


Films made from books are great. Watching movies for homework instead of reading is a bad idea. However, watching a movie to become familiar with the story can make the reading easier, more enjoyable, or possibly more frustrating. If your intent is to escape; watch the movie, or read. The story will be great either way. If you’re going to have a conversation about the book, you should probably be reading it. If you bring up details from the movie it will be obvious to the teacher or professor that you haven’t really read the book.

It’s almost guaranteed that if you read the book, the movie will be disappointing. There’s no substitute for the images your imagination can produce. There are things that we deduce when we decipher character intent and decode meaning from action or dialogue. Our minds are powerful and can make meaning from words on the page, even if the author didn’t write it all down. In a movie, we have to see what the director captured on film.

Let’s not argue any more about which is better. Book or movie, they’re both fun. Books are more challenging, and also more rewarding. Movies are great for a moment of escape. Both are valuable in a variety of ways.

What do you think? Are there movies that were better than the book? Are there movies that ruined a book for you? Let me know in the comments section, and if you’ve had this conversation before, share this article.

Read on, and watch on!


Yes, there are different types of readers. As a teacher I hear students every day say that they hate reading. That’s no exaggeration. The conversation usually goes something like this:

Me – “Hey, put your phone away. You should be reading, where’s your book? What are you reading?”

Student – “I don’t have a book. I hate to read.”

Me – “Didn’t you get a book when we went to the library?”

Student – “Yeah. I didn’t like it so I took it back.”

I really believe that there are different types of readers and that everyone can enjoy reading if they find the right book. I have spoken with a variety of people from successful business people who have college educations, to teenagers who can’t put their phones down. Even though they say that they hate reading, they always say something like, “I hate reading but I will read the newspaper”, or, “I hate reading but I liked that book by John Green”.

We could put any book, magazine, or graphic novel into the scenario. It all comes down to the fact that we will read about what we are interested in.

I wish I could spend more time with every student and find out what they like to read. It takes time and trust, but everyone has read something they enjoyed. Everyone has a story that stays with them because of the character, or conflict in the story. Everyone no is interested in something and wants to learn more about it.

We are all readers. Really.

So what kind of reader are you?

Let me know in the comments below!

Read on!


#Read #Books #Fiction #NonFiction #Reading #Teaching #Confidence #School #Success

You’re reading more and you’re starting to enjoy it a little. Or maybe your child isn’t resisting the time you dedicate to reading, and is actually helping to choose books. How can I improve what I am doing?

This is an easy thing to talk about. Really. That’s it. Talk about it. If you’ve read a book or story, and your child or someone else has read the book or story, talk about it.

What do you think about the characters? Why do you think characters did what they did? Would you have done the same thing? What could have made the story better? What didn’t you like about it? What other stories have you read that were like this one?

Talk about it.

When someone else confirms your understanding you take a win. When someone else clarifies a misunderstood scene or character action, you refine the way you read. You refine the questions you ask. You are becoming a better reader! It takes practice.

It’s simple. Enjoy the progress. Praise your little reader for doing something difficult.

The most frustrating feeling for me is being confused. It is very difficult to want to keep doing something if it doesn’t make sense. If our little readers are confused, they’re not going to want to keep reading. What’s the fun in that?

When I’m reading with a really little kid, it’s easy to ask questions to check if he’s getting the story. Older kids are able to answer these questions too, but they might be more annoyed that the story is being interrupted.

If you’re reading fiction with your child, you can ask the following questions:

  • Who is the main character in the story?
  • What is happening?
  • Where is he or she?
  • What does he or she want?
  • Where are they?
  • Why did he or she do what they did?
  • What do you think will happen next?

If you’re reading nonfiction, the questions might be a little bit different. If you’re reading a biography, the questions are the same. If you’re reading a book about science, animals, or statistics, the questions change.

  • What fact did you find most interesting?
  • What did you learn about?
  • Which was your favorite (dinosaur, rock formation, cloud type)?
  • What caused these things to happen?

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that we ask questions and make inferences while we are reading. It has become easy for us to do and we don’t realize that we’re doing it.

Read on!


Nah, reading ain’t important! The only people that care about reading are those grammar police people who troll the internet waiting to pounce on quick-finger texters who just want to update their status or make a point and don’t think to edit those autocorrected messages.

I’m probably preaching to the choir, but reading is a necessary skill for success in our world. Finding information is critical to making decisions. We can collect information by watching videos, listening to podcasts, or by reading.

Some things are only available by reading. We can read by listening just like we can read by looking at words. Sure, reading instruction manuals, and legal fine print is one way we get information, but what about reading fiction?

Fiction is known as made up stories. However, fiction is amazing because we can learn so many truths through made-up scenarios. Some people call it, “telling the truth by lying”. We can learn to empathize with other people. We can learn what it is like to belong to a culture that we can never personally know. We can feel what other people feel as we read their stories of struggle, survival, and triumph. (Check out the list of great books at the end of the post)

One of the best examples of learning empathy from a character in a book is Wonder, by R. J. Palacio. 

If you haven’t, you need to read this book. It helps the reader to feel what the main character August feels as he’s getting ready to go to a new school. August has some insecurities. Don’t we all? I won’t say anything else for fear of spoiling the story.

There are many other stories that help us to understand other people. Understanding other people takes away judgement. Understanding other people increases patience. Understanding other people promotes love and kindness which makes me wonder, is anyone in our world reading fiction anymore?

I am. I love reading. I hope you do too!


Other books that increase understanding and empathy:

The Watson’s Go To Birmingham: 1963
The War That Saved My Life
The One and Only Ivan
Okay for Now
Number the Stars
Freak the Mighty
Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie

I’m sure there are others. Let me know what you think!