What skills are learned from reading a book which are not learned from watching a film? I'm not saying books are "bad," just asking, "why are they 'better'?"
And why is longer 'better'?
Is it because we think reading is difficult and miserable? ...and so the more we do it, the 'better people' we become - as old-time Calvinists would have it? "Work became toil; thorns and thistles frustrate our efforts. Fallen man seeks to glorify himself rather than his Creator through work..."
what about storytelling and comprehension can't be learned by watching this?
is longer really always better?
I began thinking about this a couple of days ago when @corriekelly - a reading teacher in Virginia - asked about short stories that might help engage young, and perhaps reluctant, readers. Stories she could read to them, they could read to each other, they could read to themselves.
I gave her a quick list, from Rod Serling's Twilight Zonecollections, the short work of Jack Finney. I sent James Howe and this collection and this website.
Also 145th Streetand Black Juice. Going Deep: 20 Classic Sports Storiesand The Bus People. There are lots of good choices, I'm hoping you'll add others in the comments here, but then...
But then I thought, why do we start with text on a page. I thought back to discovering books of those Twilight Zonestories after years of watching the show, and how much I loved "reading" them (or really, listening to them via audiobook, but I think that's the same).
And I thought that, as part of our effort to make kids want to read, want to write, we must first get them interested in stories, in wanting to know stories, and in how stories are told, and why.
And one great way to do that is to use short fiction in another medium - the short fiction of Hulu and other free sources of video - film and television.
Eerie, Indiana are brilliantly written kid-centered stories
|where I learned to write -|
It was fascinating one night, hanging on Twitter, to discover that Paul Oh of the National Writing Project credited the same source I do for learning how to write dialogue, watching the films on New York's Channel Nine's Million Dollar Movie. Watching what were already ancient movies way back when, we learned how dialogue sounded, when it was real, when it wasn't. Million Dollar Movie ran the same films over and over and over. It was like a course in film and writing. Is that better than learning it from Dickens? I don't know, but is it worse?
the best shows to start with might be ones that are self-contained half-hour episodes
This is not an advert for Hulu, many other video sources exist. You might expand to non-fiction by having your kids examine the always unintentionally funny stories of school long ago - our old educational films from AVGeeks (most of which are also on YouTube or Google Video).
it isn't just fiction...
You can also find these stories on many network sites, again on YouTube, or by borrowing DVDs from your library. Consider Everybody Hates Chris, Pete and Pete, or even old Disney and Warner cartoons... What's the story? How is it told? Why is it being told?
Nickelodeon's Pete and Pete remains brilliant...
I believe in reading. I believe in writing. But I also know that no one learns to read unless they really want to access what reading offers. No one learns to write unless they really want to share stories with others. We can't get kids there with boring readers, or chanting, or phonics for kids with no phonological awareness. But we can get them there by bringing stories into their lives, and helping them learn to work with those stories.
- Ira Socol