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Teachers: Literacy: Text

Last Updated: Friday February 11 2005 16:17 GMT

Books versus films


Jacqueline Wilson
Children's writer Jacqueline Wilson has topped the chart as the most borrowed author from public libraries for the second year running.

One of her most famous books, The Story of Tracy Beaker, has also been made into a CBBC series.

Students discuss whether films and TV programmes can ever improve upon their book counterparts.

Learning aims
  • Identify some books that have become films.
  • Make comparisons between books and films.
  • Learn advantages of books over films and the benefits of reading.

Jacqueline Wilson

Read out this story to the class.

Ask students:

  • Name some of the books written by Jacqueline Wilson. The Story of Tracy Beaker, Vicky Angel and Girls in Tears.
  • Have you read any of her books? Which ones?
  • Have you watched Tracy Beaker on TV?
  • Do you prefer reading the books or watching the series?
  • Have you or your younger brothers or sisters read any books by Mick Inkpen? Which ones?
  • What is the title of the most lent out book? Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling.
  • Have you read this? What other Harry Potter books have you read?
  • What Harry Potter films have you seen?
  • Do you prefer reading the books or watching the films?
Main activity

Make a class list of films that have been based on books. Here are some examples:

  • Shrek - by William Steig
  • 101 Dalmations - by Dodie Smith
  • Babe - based on The Sheep Pig by Dick King-Smith
  • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang - by Ian Fleming
  • The Jungle Book - by Rudyard Kipling
  • James and the Giant Peach and Matilda - both by Roald Dahl
  • Jumanji - based on the picture book by Chris Van Allsburg
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - by JK Rowling
  • The Lord of the Rings - by JRR Tolkien
  • The Wizard of Oz - by L Frank Baum
  • Oliver! - based on Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
Class debate

Harry Potter books

Explain how to hold a formal debate by reading out this guide

Tell students that the motion is: Books offer things that films can't.

Divide the class into proposers and opposers. Ask them to research and write down arguments which either support or oppose the motion.

They can use these worksheets to help them.

Students are then selected to be:

  • chair
  • proposer
  • opposer
  • seconder for the motion
  • seconder against the motion
The rest of the class become "the floor."

Hold the debate.

Students vote twice:

1. They vote to support or oppose the motion, depending on which they thought were the most convincing and well constructed arguments. This may not necessarily be what they believe personally. The proposer, opposer and seconders must vote in role.

2. They vote according to their beliefs.

Extension activity

Newsround's review section

After the debate, each student writes a personal statement of their opinions.

They pick five arguments that match their viewpoint and include them in a report that starts "I agree that books offer things that films can't... or I don't believe that books offer things films can't. I think...


Ask the class:

  • Could films ever bring about the end of books?
  • What would the world be like without books?
  • Do you prefer to watch a film before you read a book?
  • How can films encourage people to read books?
  • If you could turn a book into a film, which would it be and why?
For hundreds more news-based lessons, click on Teachers on the left hand side.

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