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popcornWatching a movie with your children is another way to enhance and extend a good reading experience—and it’s just plain fun. Of course, many film adaptations don’t quite live up to their literary sources, but movies have their own charms.

Watching a movie together can serve as a reward for having read the book, especially for reluctant readers. A different approach to take is to watch the movie first in order to entice your young reader. Figure out what will work best with your child.

Comparing the book and movie can make for interesting discussions. Which did they prefer? Why? Did the movie stay true to the book? Which characters or details were left out of the movie? Did it still work? Is that how they envisioned the characters and the setting? Would they have cast the movie differently? You get the idea.

So many books have made the leap to the big screen—here are some that I hope you’ll enjoy. Don’t forget the popcorn! (All movies are PG unless otherwise noted.).

moviesCharlotte’s Web (2006) tells the heartwarming story of Fern, her pet pig Wilbur and a spider named Charlotte—voiced by Julia Roberts. Rated G.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009) stars Anna Faris, Bill Hader and Andy Samberg in this deliciously funny book where food comes raining down on a town. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 will be released in September, 2013.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2010), Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules (2011) and Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days (2012) are based on the popular illustrated series about a wise-cracking middle-schooler.

The 8 Harry Potter movies (2001 – 2011) comprise the feature film series based on the superb, fantastical Harry Potter novels by the incomparable J.K. Rowling. Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson play the leading characters. Some of the later movies are rated PG-13.

Hugo (2011), about an orphaned boy living in a Paris train station, was directed by Martin Scorsese, features Ben Kingsley and won 5 Academy Awards. This film pays homage to movie-makers and the role movies play in our lives.

Kit Kittredge: An American Girl (2008) is set during the Great Depression and stars Abigail Breslin as resourceful Kit who pitches in to help her family survive their financial crisis—a perfect choice for fans of the American Girl book series (and dolls!). Rated G

The Lorax (2012) is an animated movie based on Dr. Seuss’ wonderful storybook that makes a winning case for protecting our natural resources. The characters are voiced by Zac Efron, Taylor Swift, Ed Helms and Danny DeVito.

Where the Wild Things Are (2009) brings Maurice Sendak’s magical world to the screen in this edgy movie about Max who becomes King of the terrifying creatures. Voices are those of James Gandolfini and Catherine O’Hara.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971), while not the most recent version, is my favorite film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s story. Gene Wilder is memorable as the candy maker in this eccentric and wonderful factory. Rated G

Winnie the Pooh (2011) recounts one of Winnie’s adventures with his friends in this animated film based on the characters and stories of A.A. Milne. The voices of John Cleese, Craig Ferguson and Zooey Deschanel are featured. Rated G

The Wizard of Oz (1939) is a masterpiece with a superlative cast— headed by a young Judy Garland—that never loses its magical appeal no matter how many times you’ve watched it. Rated G

5f7eafbc7c97f82f8baba447eeae23f4Belinda Brock’s background is in teaching and educational publishing. Currently, I am a writing coach working with students who are applying for college, graduate or professional school. I am in the midst of setting up a small publishing company to publish my children’s stories. My blog, grandbooking, focuses on children, books and literacy.