How to Use Movies as Literature Studies

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This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to Use Movies as Literature Studies.

How to Use Movies as Literature Studies. Cinema studies as literature studies is a solid part of Language Arts credit for high school. Here is how to make it work. #HomeschoolHighSchoolPodcast #HomeschoolHighSchool #MoviesForLearningLiterature #CinemaStudiesForLiteratureLearning #MoviesForLanguageArts

How to Use Movies as Literature Studies

Teens love movies and there are so many excellent movies out there. Why not make movies part of your homeschool high schoolers’ Language Arts credits?

Join Sabrina and Vicki for a lively discussion about one of Sabrina’s favorite topics. Sabrina is a movie buff from way back and is’s expert in turning good movies into good literature studies.

How can that be legit?

First off, teens can’t just watch movies and count then as books. BUT they can count them as some of their books, IF they interact with the movies in a Language Arts way.

Many states and even countries, like Canada, include studying movies as part of Literature. They do this by including literature themes into the study of the movies.

How can you use movies as literature studies?

*One way is to: Read the book, then watch the movie, then compare and contrast. (Or listen to an audiobook, then watch the movie.)

Sabrina and Vicki point out they like Benedict Cumberbatch reading Kafka’s Metamorphosis or poetry of all kinds. (Check out Vicki’s Poetry Pinterest Board.)

You can use a movie along with literature analysis of the movie because:

  • Movies are stories.
  • Just like books are stories.
  • Stories are stories.

Whether it is a movie or a book, there is a story being told.

Just listening to an audiobook is not cheating, watching a story being told in movie form isn’t cheating. As Sabrina says: If you use literary analysis skills to study the movie, it works just as well as studying a book.

This is a benefit for students who read slowly or have dyslexia. Sometimes reading a book takes all their energy and they have little left for literary analysis. In watching movies to practice literary analysis, they have more energy to learn these skills.

You can’t just do this willy-nilly and expect it to be a learning experience. Literary analysis is more than *what you liked about this movie*.

How can you turn a good movie into a good literary analysis experience?

Well, you could start with’s Cinema Studies for Literature Learning (since Sabrina created them and did the work for you).

Like all 7Sisters’ Literature Study Guides, Sabrina chooses one or two literary themes per movie and really delves into them. This gives homeschool high schoolers an wonderful opportunity to gain skill and comprehension about those themes. (This method differs from many programs that will try to pull all the literary themes out of a book or movie and totally overwhelm many high schoolers. Then, they hate the experience, rather than having learned from it.)

7Sisters’ Cinema Studies Guides never try to kill the movie!

How to use 7Sisters’ Cinema Studies for Literature Learning Guides:

  • Before watching the movie, read the introduction to the study guide. It will:
    • Give an overview of the movie
    • Give some background information about the author or story
    • Explain the one or two themes to watch for in the movie
  • As they watch the movie:
    • They watch for the literature themes that they learned about in the introduction to the guide.
    • Take some notes as you watch
  • Wait a few days, watch the movies again
  • After the movie:
    • They answer questions or writing prompts that help them learn the literature analysis topics that are important to that story
    • Be sure on writing prompts to follow good writing skills:
      • First draft
      • Rewrites
  • For students who struggle with writing, this can be done in a discussion format

Movies as  literature studies are not only good for students with learning struggles. Average teens and gifted teens pick up skills for making inferences and connections, as well as reenforcing literature themes when they learn from movies with a good study guide.

To help with this, 7Sisters’ Cinema Studies for Literature Learning includes special activities especially for interested or gifted teens to earn an Honors credit. (This looks good on a homeschool transcript, BTW.)

When you set the goal for your homeschool high schoolers to gain some skills to understand good stories and why, they can apply these skills in other settings and make connections for further learning on their own. That’s what good literary analysis is about. That is why it is good to learn that skill in small chunks like we do with 7Sisters Cinema Studies for Literature Learning Guides.

Your homeschool high schoolers are going to have a wonderful time when you learn how to use movies as literature studies. For more information on using movies as literature studies check out this HSHSP Episode.


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How to Use Movies as Literature Studies


  1. Julie Tomlinson says

    This Movie/literature grammar alternative for my 18 year old is helping us get through this senior year. I’m trying to keep inspiration going here. My husband was married to a school teacher and has 2 daughters who are teachers and he does not see any validity in Homeschooling as my boys require constant guidance. Standing on his own two feet will be tough for this teen but hoping he finds a job in the near future.

  2. Praying for you and yours, Julie. Some teens take a while to figure themselves out. This course might help him get his academic confidence. Here’s a sweet interview on motivating teens:

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