Inside: Help your reluctant readers want to read more with this book-movie club trick that’s also a perfect summer reading challenge.
I have three kids and they all grew up in a home surrounded by books.
We have books in bedrooms, in our living room, and even in our bathroom.
We borrow books from the library, we buy books in used book stores, and we count down to the Scholastic Book Fair.
Because science has shown that reading books to kids as young as babies will improve their listening, speaking, and literacy skills. And it will encourage them to have a lifelong love affair with reading.
And for my daughters, it has totally worked. They love to read.
In fact, we often have to take away my daughter’s books so she will fall asleep because there have been too many nights where she was up obscenely late reading just one more chapter.
But then there’s my son.
He’s just never loved to read.
He can read and he does read, but it’s not the first or even the tenth thing he wants to do.
He is what teachers would call a reluctant reader.
Related: How to Help a Reluctant Reader Find Books They Want to Read
And because he’s reluctant, we’re always looking for fun ways to encourage him to pick up more books.
How to Help Reluctant Readers:
Kids who are read to, and see adults reading, and have access to books have such an advantage over children who are never read to and don’t own books in their homes.
He gets at least 20 minutes of reading in because this graphic always hit home with me.
My son had every “book privilege” there is, and yet he is still not stoked to read.
So we’ve done a few things to try to turn that around.
We buy him high-interest books even if they irritate us or wouldn’t be books we would choose (like Dogman: a dog head sewn to the body of a police officer who fights crime and cats…what?!?)
We let him read comic books and graphic novels because reading is reading.
And we taught him the five finger rule I used in my classroom so he doesn’t get overly frustrated reading books that are too hard for him to read independently.
We give him books as gifts.
We let him choose books from the Scholastic orders when they come home in his backpack.
And my husband is reading Harry Potter to him every night with all the Brittish voices he can dream up because reading out loud to older kids who can read sill benefits them greatly.
During the summer we always work hard to beat the dreaded summer slide so we do summer learning.
And we also do the 100 Books Challenge from The Measured Mom each summer because it is so darn creative.
But to step things up and increase the incentives for my son to want to read more often, we’ve got a family “rule” about books and movies that encourages him to pick up new books.
In fact, it also encourages my daughters to try books out of their preferred genres and to read something a little outside their comfort zone.
And it’s absolutely perfect for summer and to encourage summer reading
We have a Book-Movie Club.
How the Book-Movie Club works to motivate reluctant readers:
We all know that a book-inspired movie is rarely, if ever, better than the book.
But, I love movies that are made from books. Because it motivates my reluctant reader.
In our family, we set the expectation that you can’t see a movie if you haven’t read the book yet.
If you want to watch a movie, head to your bookshelf first.
We’ll read it together or the kids can read it on their own, but the book must be read before we can plop ourselves in front of the TV or grab tickets to the movie theater.
And it works.
My son now begs my husband to read Harry Potter to him every night. Why? He craves the connection and one on one time with husband. It’s their special time together.
But he also wants to watch the movie.
When Captain Underpants came out in the theaters, my son read like a madman to finish the book in time so he could see the movie.
And if a movie is what motivates him to read more, I’m okay with that.
Because at the end of the day, he’s reading.
Without fighting me every step of the way.
Book and Movie Club Titles:
Ready to get started on your Book-Movie Club?
What you choose to read and then watch will depend on your kids’ ages, reading level, and their interests.
And you have to decide if the movie is appropriate for your kiddo.
Movies are often a lot scarier than the book because books are only as scary as we can imagine them. Voldemort didn’t scare my daughter until she saw him on the big screen.
Check Common Sense Media to get a score for each movie based on the content (sexual content, graphic language, adult themes, violence, etc.)
But sitting around watching a movie about a book you just read is a great family date night and a great way to build a stronger family identity.
It’s also a perfect summer reading challenge.
Pictures Books and Movies:
Where the Wild Things Are and the movie
Alexander and the Horrible, Terrible No Good Very Bad Day (P.S. I LOVE this movie!)
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and the movie
Horton Hears a Who and the movie
The Grinch and the movie
The Polar Express and the movie
Chapter Books and Movies:
Read these with your kids if they’re young or beginning readers or let your kids read them independently.
Or read them with your independent readers just because you can and they will love connecting with you over the book.
Stuart Little and the movie
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the old school movie and newer movie
Matilda and the movie (which is so cute!)
Secret Garden and the movie
Wonder and the movie (LOVE this book and movie equally) and 365 Days of Wonder, Mr. Brown’s Precepts which I just got for my daughter
Wizard of Oz and the movie
Charlotte’s Web and the old school cartoon movie and the live action movie
Tales of Despereaux and the movie
Because of Winn Dixie and the movie
Tuck Everlasting and the movie
Where the Red Fern Grows and the movie (P.S. One of my most favorite books ever growing up)
The Trumpet and the Swan and the movie
A Wrinkle in Time and the movie
Bridge to Terabithia and the movie
James and the Giant Peach and the movie
The Borrowers and the movie
How to Eat Fried Worms and the movie
Pay it Forward and the movie (Bonus because it’s all about Kindness. Want more kindness books? Grab our must-read list here.)
Little Princess and the movie
Little Women and the movie
Holes and the movie (P.S. One of my most favorite chapter books and I LOVED the movie even a little more than the book)
Series Chapter Books and Movies:
All of these have multiple books and therefore multiple movies. I’ll give you the first of each one or the series boxed set if I can find it to get your kids hooked.
Because series are perfect for reluctant readers because if they fall in love, you know what their next book will be.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid and the movie (I really can’t stand this series, but it’s what helped get my son to read, so it’s more of a love-hate relationship).
Lemony Snicket’s a Series of Unfortunate Events and the movies
Paddington and movies
Captain Underpants and movies (Again, ugh. But my son thinks they’re hilarious and got him reading, so we go with it).
Anne of Green Gables and the movie and the sequel (my absolute favorite series and movies as a tween…I was obsessed with Anne Shirley and Gilbert)
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and the movie (my favorite series of all time, and the movies are phenomenal but the books are way, way better)
The Chronicles of Narnia, the Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe and the movie
The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings Boxed Set and the movie
Baby-Sitters Club Old School Set, 1-6 or the graphic novel version, 1-4 and the movie (I owned every single one, and then rebought them all on ebay for my daughter)
A Dog’s Purpose or grab the young novels that break down the book into smaller chapter books and the movie (love, love, love the concept of this book and the movies are so sweet)
The Princess Diaries and the movie (must confess, I love the movies and had no clue this was a book series…so we broke the rule on this one on accident).
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and the movie
Artemis Fowl (movie coming soon)
Books and Movies with Mature Content*** :
***These are phenomenal books and movies but the dystopian society theme and discussions/portrayal of death may be too graphic for your child’s maturity. Proceed with extreme caution…
The Hunger Games and the movie
For even more books and movies, click here.
And you know what?
Our book-movie club is working.
My son just came downstairs and asked me one of my most favorite questions: “Mama, can I read a little bit more? I’m on chapter 5 of the Sorcerer’s Stone and it’s so good.”
Yes, the answer with always be “yes” to that.
Because if books that are turned into movies motivate my son to read, my son is on the path to changing his label of “reluctant reader” to just “reader.”
Do you have a printable of the movie list?