We want our students to understand that readers are always thinking. This is true whether they are reading a novel, looking at the advertisements in magazine, or watching a movie or television sitcom.
In his book, Reading in the Dark, John Golden reminds us that film and literature share many of the same elements and strategies for drawing in a viewer/reader. Using videos to introduce and practice reading strategies provides a number of advantages :
Here we look at some ideas for using videos to support the development of three effective reading strategies, making predictions, making connections, and asking questions.
Proficient readers are actively involved in the reading process. They know that there are cues embedded in the text that provide information to the reader. They watch for these cues and make predictions about what they think might happen. Predictions do not have to be right, but they must be grounded in the text.
Whenever students are giving a personal response to what they read or view, they are making connections to what they know. Younger students more easily make connections to their own experiences. As students become more aware of the kinds of connections they can make, they begin to make connections to other books or movies with similar characters, themes or issues and eventually to larger world events and issues. Each of these kinds of connections is important in deepening the readers' understanding.
Many educators now realize the importance of having students ask their own questions as they are engaged in reading/viewing. This essential reading strategy is used by readers who are actively involved in making meaning and allows them to gain a deeper understanding of a text.
Teachers can model and encourage the asking of questions as they view and discuss movies, documentaries and other video texts with students. Certain types of questions will move the reader beyond the literal level.
Kinds of Questions
|Factual Questions||Questions of Interpretation||Questions Beyond the Text|
|Where is the scene shot ?||
What technique(s) has (have) been used to make us sympathize with the girl who is being bullied ?
Why didn’t anyone stop the speaker ?
How do the other students feel about what is happening ?
Why do people try to hurt other people ?
Like all languages, film, video, and television use codes and conventions to communicate ideas, issues and impressions to the viewer.
Download a printable handout of the language of film and video.
When students are viewing a film or video the codes and conventions have an impact on the message that is being communicated. One of the best ways to help students understand these basic codes and conventions is to involve them in their own productions.
In this short video clip, produced by a small group of grade 6 students, you will notice the use of some of the basic codes and conventions referred to in the handout (see above). Have students analyze the different effects that are used and discuss how they impact the message that is communicated.