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Encouraging Literacy Through Film: Best New Movie Adaptations Of Children’s Books

Numerous excellent children’s book adaptations are out in 2022 with the release date for Harold and the Purple Crayon — starring Zachary Levi and Zoey Deschanel and based on the book by Crockett Johnson — now pushed back to summer 2023. Indeed, movies aren’t just fun to watch, they’re also a great way to encourage literacy in children — particularly children who’re reluctant readers or struggle with some texts. So, by checking out some of the latest releases, children can in turn ignite interest in original stories and strengthen their literacy skills.

Lyle, Lyle Crocodile

Lyle, Lyle Crocodile is a live-action and animation musical comedy, which is adapted from the 1965 children’s story book of the same name. It’s a charming, heart-warming movie both kids and adults alike are bound to love. The story centers around the Primm family who, after starting a new life in New York City, discover Lyle, a singing Saltwater crocodile resident in their attic. Lyle quickly becomes best friends with the family’s son, Josh, and the whole family, along with Lyle’s quirky owner, find themselves working together to protect Lyle from a scary neighbor. And, by reading the book alongside (or after) the film, children can gain a deeper understanding of aspects like character, narrative, and language, along with social and cultural context.

White Bird: A Wonder Story

Starring Bryce Gheisar, Gillian Anderson, and Helen Mirren, White Bird: A Wonder Story is based on a 2019 graphic novel by R.J. Palacio. It’s a war drama that encourages kindness and teaches the importance of learning from the past in order to not repeat it. The plot follows Julian, a young boy who’s finding life difficult after being expelled from school. So, in an effort to inspire him to improve his circumstances, Julian’s grandmother tells him stories from her past as a young girl in France during the time of Nazi occupation — as such, most of the movie is set during World War II and told through flashbacks. After watching the movie, you can also give your kids the graphic novel to enjoy. In fact, giving your children books as gifts is one of the best ways to get them into reading and nurture a love of literature. By including a personalized message in the book, you can also give them an extra motivational boost to start the book and stick with it.

 The Bad Guys

The Bad Guys is an American computer-animated heist comedy based on an illustrated children’s graphic novel series by Aaron Blabey. It follows a gang of animal criminals who, after pulling off a lifetime of successful heists, are finally caught. To save themselves from prison, they’re tasked with fooling the world that they’re now law-abiding citizens. By watching the movie along with reading the book, children can shed new light on characters and situations, as well as highlight themes they may not have previously noticed.

Movies let children explore new worlds, character’s and experiences, and, in turn, they’ll naturally want to read the original stories they’re based on. Lyle, Lyle Crocodile, White Bird: A Wonder Story, and the Bad Guys are just some of the latest adaptations that can encourage literacy in children.


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