Teaching literary elements, devices, and techniques is tough. Learning these concepts while trying to comprehend text is often difficult for students, especially struggling readers. Give students a serious advantage by teaching with film! Here are 3 reasons why teaching literary elements with short films is so effective:
1- Using film to teach the hard concepts of literary elements frees students up to use text for learning reading comprehension and fluency. 21st century learners are used to graphics and animation. We can try to fight this, but we will lose. Students are highly engaged by the visuals and sounds of film, and when they are engaged, learning increases. So, take advantage of this! Let them learn in their comfort zone and everybody wins.
2- Film IS literature! Some people consider film to be a lesser art, but that is absolutely not true. Film is just another vehicle for delivering a story, and can be powerfully artful. The literary techniques used to tell a story in text are mostly the same techniques used in film.
3- Pairing a novel or story with its film version provides a powerful learning experience. If students view the film first, they will be loaded with background knowledge and scheme, and will therefore be primed to comprehend the text more fluently. They will likely learn what we teachers already know: The book is better than the movie! This is a valuable lesson that can set students up to be life-long readers.