Read and Watch Stories

Whether you watch the adaptation first and then read the story, or vice versa, there are plenty of benefits to watching film adaptations with your class. Just to mention a few: films help your students revise vocabulary, improve visualisation skills, practise listening skills and familiarise students with the cultural context of the story. It is also a nice way to wind down after a long reading session or a unit test.

What are your options?

You can watch:

  • the whole film in class.
  •  only the beginning and compare it with the reader.
  •  the whole film in class, but in two sessions. Do an activity in the middle.
  • clips from the film and compare it with chapters from the book. This is a more focused and intensive activity.


1 Watch the film trailer as an introduction to the reader. You can also show scenes from the film, and then discuss your students’ predictions.

2 Compare the book cover and the film poster.

3 Become familiar with the setting: choose a scene from the film which shows a typical location in the story. Describe the scene, and introduce or revise vocabulary related to it.

4 Dubbing: it’s always a fun activity to mute the film and ask students to do voiceover narration. They can come up with their own stories. Alternatively, pause the film at a scene with several characters, and ask your students to come up with a dialogue for that scene.

5 Ask your students to watch the film and then draw or design the plot in eight to twelve frames, highlighting the most important events.

6 Ask your students to act out a dialogue or a scene from the film/reader.

7 Ask your students to compare the reader and the film. They can focus on characters, locations, themes, the plot, the atmosphere. They do not necessarily have to write an essay, they can also create presentations, charts or illustrations.

What to do about subtitles?

With English subtitles you can improve your students’ listening skills, word recognition skills and you can revise new vocabulary.

Subtitles in your own language can help your students pick up new vocabulary. It mainly improves receptive vocabulary development as without teacher support and further practice your students will only hear the expression once.

Here is a list of film adaptations you can use with our readers:

Helbling Readers and Film Adaptations

Reader Film Year Rating
Red Series
Peter Pan Finding Neverland 2005 PG
The Hound of the Baskervilles The Hounds of Baskerville 2012 PG-13
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Oz the Great and Powerful 2013 PG
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Alice in Wonderland 2010 PG
Black Beauty Black Beauty 1994 G
Little Women Little Women 1994 PG
The Secret Garden The Secret Garden 1993 G
A Christmas Carol A Christmas Carol 2009 PG
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn The Adventures of Huck Finn 1993 PG
Treasure Island Treasure Island 2012 PG-13
White Fang White Fang 1991 PG
Anne of Green Gables Anne of Green Gables 1985 G
Oliver Twist Oliver Twist 2005 PG-13
Blue Series
The Last of the Mohicans The Last of the Mohicans 1992 R
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow Sleepy Hollow 1999 R
Wuthering Heights Wuthering Heights 2011 PG-13
The Great Gatsby The Great Gatsby 2013 PG-13
The Picture of Dorian Gray Dorian Gray 2009 R

Rating information:

  • PG: Parental guidance suggested
  • G: General audiences, for all ages
  • PG -13: Parents strongly cautioned, some material may be inappropriate for children under 13
  • R: Restricted, under 17 requires accompanying parent

Visit the Helbling e-zone educational platform for interactive activities based on the readers:

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