Literature in the Media

We keep talking about all these ways to get our kids reading and how to entice them into story after story. Back in the day, reading was one of the few ways to escape normal, everyday life and go somewhere new without going anywhere at all. Today, I can turn on the TV, pop in a DVD, listen to the music on demand or scroll through my phone where no text I read is longer than a paragraph. Many of these distractions have a common origin; literature.

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How many times have you put off seeing a movie till you finished the book? Or not watched it at all because you loved the book and there is no way the movie will do it justice? My particular favorite is to watch the movie and let everyone know exactly how and why it is inaccurate in comparison with the book.

My question is, is the media popularizing or degrading literature? How can I embrace all these forms while still making sure reading the main form my students digest? What does this mean for my future classroom? Okay, so maybe I have more than just one question over the subject.

I have learned different ways of “hooking” students onto books; audio books, graphic novels and read alouds are all fantastic gateways. But how do second-hand paperbacks compete with box office hits? I have heard “I haven’t read the book but I saw the movie so what’s the difference?” more times than I can bear.

To quote Dr. Cox, “Nothing is original!” I will help my students uncover the origins to all their favorites. Together we can learn which stories stemmed from where and which ones are beloved enough to be replicated multiple times over. We can also talk about how authors recycle plots and characters. Maybe my fears are turning into future lessons.

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I have seen teachers use films to supplement the texts their classes are reading and I’ve seen it done very well. However, I also saw how many of my former classmates took this opportunity to use the text to supplement the film. Some will say it is the quality of the movie or the amount of time a class spends on each medium that makes or breaks this experience. I say it’s neither.

Passion. To answer my own questions and solve almost every problem in my future classroom I will reply with passion. I will not be able to top the latest TV parody of a horror story, but I can recommend and rave on about Stephen King. My passion is reading and learning and I am real life, not an image on a screen or an audio recording. With my humanness I can show the value interpreting a story for yourself and not the way a director wants to. There is something beautiful about unraveling a text for yourself.

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