For my final Book Club title of the school year, I had selected Jojo Moyes’ Me Before You. I thought our end-of-May meeting would correspond perfectly with the June release date for the movie. Not only did this get my “loyal members” a little more excitement than usual for our discussion, but it also had new students gravitate towards the club. I even have some of them asking if we can all see the movie together!
Some die-hard book lovers argue that the movie almost always ruins the book and completely alters the story. Now, that may just be the case, however, I say use that movie to your advantage. Our students, especially teenagers, generally enjoy going to the movies. So why not use that to propel them to read? Why not use the new release as a tool to inspire a student to pick up a book and read for leisure?
I am thrilled to see that all of my Book Club members, both old and new, are excited to read the book and then compare it to the movie. It will be enjoyable for all, and the best part is that it inspires literacy!
In addition to our monthly Book Club meetings, I also host a Page-to-Screen monthly movie night in the library. Since the beginning of the school year, once a month I selected a movie that was based off of a book, and I invited students to purchase a ticket (only $2!). I would pull out my projector screen, pop in the DVD to my projector, and make some popcorn. Then we would all sit around and enjoy the film depiction of a beloved book. This, too, is a form of literacy. Quite a few times I’ve had a student want to read the book AFTER watching the movie!
Sometimes as educators it is easy to grumble and point fingers at something or someone else for the apathy our students feel towards reading. But why not DO SOMETHING to fight against it? Use something that already interests them to inspire them to pick up a book. Even if only a couple students out of a huge group start to read, it is a victory!
I once saw a cartoon that had the caption, “Why did you become a school librarian?” and the answer read, “To avenge the decline of literacy.” Even though it gave me a chuckle, I couldn’t agree more–whether you call yourself a librarian, a media specialist, a cybarian, et cetera, one of your main duties is promoting literacy. And, I believe you must do anything you can to ensure that.