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Movies As Literature
Kathryn Stout & Richard Stout

Kathryn Stout homeschooled her own children using material she created. We now know them as: Design-A-Study materials.

Kathryn's credentials are quite impressive. She taught in the public schools, as well as designing curriculum for students who did not respond to traditional teachings. She went on to homeschool her two children; both have since graduated from college.

Richard Stout has taught high school English, drama and journalism as well as other subjects.

The first question that came to my mind was, why use movies? Aren't we trying to get our children to read more, especially the "classics?"

This question is answered by the Stouts on the first page. First, they want you to understand that the movies selected for this guide were chosen based on two criterion. First, stories had to be well written, plots are clearly developed and known as a literary work. Second, the movies had to be filmed effectively to be used as good examples of filming technique.

My second thought was, can this really count as a high school credit; it seems too easy.

Well, yes! It does count as a full credit towards a required English course.

There are questions that go along with each movie - I found it helpful to have a copy of the book, which, along with the movies, can be found at many libraries.

I was amazed at the interesting discussions we had which came from viewing some of these movies. I found the ones we watched to be not only good in a literary sense, but also, great for history and some science.

For instance, we watched "To Kill A Mockingbird." My two children were amazed at the totally different culture this movie portrayed such as: the fun the children had playing outside, neighbors visiting with one another, the clothes, the way other people were treated based on color and mental illness, the integrity of the main character. All of these spawned many discussions on the differences between now and then.

The Stouts have indicated that the first six movies would be good for 7th and 8th grade as well as high school.

There are 17 movies in this guide. The guide itself is in paperback form and comes with complete instruction on how to use the guide, glossary, answers, and a final exam.

The recommendation for utilizing this guide is as follows:

Day 1: Watch the movie in silence and without interruption.

Day2-3: Look over the questions and composition topics. At this time, watch the movie again, stopping and rewinding as necessary.

Day 4-5: Discuss questions 1-22 and start discussing the composition questions.

Day 6-10: Work on each composition using the writing process. Watch portions of the movies as needed in order to include specific evidence.

The writing process that is to be used is included. This is the format: pre-writing, drafting, revising, editing, publishing. Each area has explanation with it.

There are also two pages devoted to "How to write an essay."

As I used this guide and watched how my children enjoyed the movies, and how they wanted to read the books, I realized this is a great concept. It gets our 21st century kids to learn in a way they are used to, but also teaches them that good old fashioned reading and writing is equally important.

I would highly recommend this book for all High Schoolers, especially those who are more visual and hands-on learners.As mentioned, some of the movies are appropriate for middle school ages.

I think this book would be great to use in the 10th or 11th grade, as it will expose the child to classic literature, as well as giving good instruction on writing, which could be helpful for those tough college essays. Movies As Literature is a wonderful idea!

-- Lisa Hiatt, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

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