Why Children’s Books and Their Movie Adaptations Go Hand-in-Hand

Every time a movie comes out, you’ll always hear someone say, “but it wasn’t as good as the book.” 

While there will always be people who believe that the original version of things is always better, sometimes it’s good to mix in a bit of the new. Movie adaptations complement their original books, especially when it comes to children’s books, because it can help little ones with visualization and also helps them understand the story better. Continue reading to learn more about how these two mediums can offer twice the benefits. 


Movies Can Motivate a Reluctant Reader 

Reluctant readers might not want to read because they think it’s boring or because they’re stressed out about their abilities. In fact, many reluctant readers are that way because they’re nervous about messing up or not being “good enough.” Maybe it’s hard for them to keep a story straight, or maybe they have difficulty visualizing. By having them watch a movie adaptation of a book they’re reading in school or one they’ve shown interest in, you might be able to motivate them to pick up the book. 

Some children have trouble following along with the plot, or they may get confused when new characters enter the scene. By showing them what’s happening, they’ll be able to translate the visual components to the page. A simple way to approach this is to read a chapter and then watch the scene in the movie, going back and forth until the movie is over. That way, the child can focus on a section piece by piece, putting the story together in their head.  

Movies Can Show a Different Side of the Story

Another way that movies can enhance a child’s understanding of a book is by showing a different side of the story. Sometimes movies will put in scenes that are not in the book to enhance the story or to bring out subtext. Hidden meanings and metaphors found in books might be difficult for some children to understand, and they might benefit from them being portrayed in another way. For example, some animated movie adaptations recreate characters in the form of animals. A quiet, shy character could be portrayed as a mouse. A character that’s meant to be a leader could be portrayed as a lion. 

One of the most famous examples of this would be Walt Disney’s “Robin Hood.” Robin Hood is a fictional character found in such books as “The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood.” He’s known for being a bit of a trickster, and in the Disney film, he’s aptly portrayed as a cunning fox. 

Needing visual assistance in order to understand an author’s intent isn’t a bad thing. Children are still learning about literary devices such as symbolism and characterization, and they might not pick up on these things while reading. Pairing a book with a movie brings these two sides together and can portray the story in a more nuanced way. It can even help the adults in the room too!

Paired Together, Movie Adaptations Help with Visualization 

Visualization is a reading strategy that some people think comes naturally, but it’s still considered a learned skill. This means that people have to practice visualization while reading to build up their abilities with each book. This is where movie adaptations really become useful. As a short-term educational strategy, watching film adaptations of movies (either animation or live-action) can help improve a child’s ability to visualize what’s happening in a book. 

Many teachers will use this tool in the classroom as a way to help children visualize what’s happening in a book. Some don’t even show the entire movie and instead will just show specific scenes from chapters that could possibly be confusing to a child. For instance, some children might not be able to distinguish between homonyms, words that are spelled the same but have different meanings. This misunderstanding might cause confusion, but some kids might be too nervous about speaking up out of fear of being ridiculed. Having visual aids can remove that confusion, aiding in their understanding of not only the storyline, but the English language. 

Movies Can Prepare Children for More Advanced Reading 

Has your child expressed an interest in Shakespeare, but you’re concerned that the original plays will be too advanced or mature for them? There are fantastic kid-friendly books out there that reimagine classic tales and offer them up in a digestible format. You can find them in the form of graphic novels, young adult novels, or even picture books. But sometimes, movies take from these classic stories and rework them into kid-friendly content. 

For example, did you know that “The Lion King” shares almost the exact same storyline as “Hamlet?” Or that Charles Dickens’s 1838 novel “Oliver Twist” has close to four kid-friendly film adaptations, both animated and live-action? When children are exposed to classic literature at a young age in ways that they can understand, they might be more likely to seek out the originals when they get older. This can enhance their reading ability, create life-long learners, and prepare them for success in school. 

Movies and Books: The Perfect Pair

 Movie adaptations pair perfectly with children’s books because they can help kids visualize the story, understand a new perspective, and can even motivate them to continue reading. If you’re worried about kids foregoing reading altogether and only watching movies, consider that movies are a tool that can emphasize reading rather than acting as a replacement. 

The end goal is to still make strong readers who will love reading for their whole life. If you’re ready to look for books that you know have a movie adaptation, browse!


Welcome to the Night Helper Blog. The Night Helper Blog was created in 2008. Since then we have been blessed to partner with many well-known Brands like Best Buy, Fisher Price, Toys "R" US., Hasbro, Disney, Teleflora, ClearCorrect, Radio Shack, VTech, KIA Motor, MAZDA and many other great brands. We have three awesome children, plus four adorable very active grandkids. From time to time they too are contributors to the Night Helper Blog. We enjoy reading, listening to music, entertaining, travel, movies, and of course blogging.

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