Comparing and Contrasting Book to Movie Adaptations

Title: Comparing and Contrasting Book
to Movie Adaptations
Author:  Rachel Quill
Subject(s):  English Language Arts and Information and Technology Literacy
Grade Level(s):  6Total Time:  Movie 1 hour 40 min., book 15 min., 2-3 days writing process

Overview / Description:

Students identify the main events that take place in a children's classic picture book.  Students will then compare and contrast the book to the film using specific events from both.  Students will analyze the choices the director makes in recreating the events from the book.  Lastly, students will write a movie review based on the analysis of the events.

Learning goals/objectives:

After completing this activity, students should be able to . . .

  • identify the main events in a story.
  • compare and contrast a book and its movie adaptation.
  • analyze the choices directors make in creating a movie based on a book.
  • write a critique on the film adaptation of the book.

Workplace Readiness Skill: (place an X in front of all which apply)

            X Social Skills                        X Communication

X Teamwork                        X Critical Thinking

  Attitude and Initiative        X Planning and Organization

X Professionalism                X Media Etiquette

Content Standards:(Copy and paste all relevant standards. Make sure to drill all the way down to the performance indicator level, as that will be what you need to link when uploading to the WISELearn platform.)

    Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
    Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.
    Analyze how and why individuals, events, or ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.
    Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.
    Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole.
    Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.
    Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.
    Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.
  • KC1.a: Plan and employ effective research strategies.
  •  KC1.a.9.m: Demonstrate and practice using an inquiry-based process that involves asking questions, investigating the answers, and developing new understandings for personal or academic learning activities.
  • KC1.b: Evaluate the accuracy, perspective, credibility, and relevance of information, media, data or other resources.
  • KC1.b.5.m: Practice and demonstrate the ability to evaluate resources for accuracy, perspective, credibility, and relevance while distinguishing between fact and opinion in the research.
  • KC1.b.6.m: Recognize the importance of leveraging multiple viewpoints in decision-making and implementation.
  • KC2.a: Produce creative artifacts.
  • KC2.a.3.m: Explore, select, and utilize multiple sources of curated information to produce creative artifacts for multiple audiences demonstrating meaningful connections or conclusions.

Materials: (link all necessary handouts, videos, additional resources)

Book vs. Movie Graphic Organizer

Movie Review Sample

Several copies of The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

The Polar Express  movie (2004)

Compare/Contrast Essay Outline (many online) - intro, body 1 similarities, body 2 differences, conclusion


Describe each step of the learning activity including strategies that will be used to meet the learning objective.


T=Teacher Focus Lesson

WG=Whole Group

SM=Small Group



State approx. amount of time for each task

Day 1Teacher will begin the lesson with a connection, activating schema. The teacher will share a favorite book that was turned into a movie.  What the movie did right or wrong and how it made the teacher feel.  The teacher will state the next learning experience will be to analyze a film that is based on a book, The Polar Express.  The teacher point/objective for the day is students will identify the main events in a story.  The teacher will hand out the Book vs. Movie graphic organizer.  Students can fill out the first column while the teacher reads the book.  The teacher will then read the picture book aloud to the students.  The teacher can use a think aloud when s/he comes to an important event in the story that students should record in their graphic organizer.  When the book is finished, students will be given 10 minutes to compare notes.  The teacher will go over the main events of the story while students make corrections.  Students will move into small groups to identify how the event is represented in the book and record in column 2.  Restate the teaching point for the day and discuss this will connect to the next few days of watching the movie to record how the director portrayed each event.T, I, SM45 min.
Days 2 & 3 Teacher will remind students to record how the events were represented in the movie in column 3.I45 min.
Days  4 & 5Finish the movie.  Students will return to their groups to compare their notes in column 3.  The teacher will then model the first answer for column 4, the analysis.  Then, the teacher will begin to model the second answer in column 4 but will invite students to contribute.  The students will then work in their groups to finish filling out the graphic organizer.  The analysis does not need to look exactly the same for student as this is their opinion build off of personal background knowledge. I, T, SM45 min.
Day 6The teacher will connect back to day one of this unit where s/he introduced what can happen in a book to movie adaptation.  Each of us has an opinion as to how well the director did in bringing a book to life.  The teacher will share his or her review of The Polar Express movie (see handout).  After reading the review to the students, the teacher will go through the essay and point out important parts such as:  the claim, follows a compare and contrast essay format, reasons are supported by evidence and elaborated on, the movie is rated, and so forth.  Students will work independently to write a review of The Polar Express using the information in their graphic organizer.  T, I45 min.
Day 7Work dayI45 min.
Day 8Review is dueI45 min.

Assessment: What evidence will you collect of student learning?  Link assessment tools here.

  1. Each step allows for a check for understanding.
  1. Main events of the story.
  2. How events are depicted in the book and the movie.
  3. Analysis of the director’s choices.
  4. Review (Compare/Contrast Essay)
  1. Essay rubric (not included with lesson)


Revisit objectives through questioning.  Students may respond in a discussion or through writing.

Extension Activity:

Students choose a book and movie adaptation of the book to repeat the process with.  This will allow for students to demonstrate they can analyze director’s craft independently.  There are many list of book to movie adaptations for children online.  

OER Commons License:Go to the OER Commons at and follow the steps under “Choose a License.” Once your OER Commons license has been created you can cut and paste the license directly into this lesson template.

ATTACHMENTS  Link additional resources not previously linked above. Go back and create bookmarks from the Materials section to these resources.

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