Integrating Language into Movie Night

With lots of extra time on our hands, movie night is a great way to enjoy spending time with family and relax after a stressful week!  Did you also know that watching movies is an easy way for kiddos to work on their language skills? 

Here are a few suggestions to target during the credits and some simple activities and questions to get you started:

Parts of a story

These include the stories’ characters, the setting, the plot/climax and the resolution.  You can simply target these areas by playing a game of who can name the most characters or who can describe the climax/major event.  Another easy way to practice these skills is to have your children draw a picture of the setting or their favorite scene from the story and describe it to you.  Discussing parts of a story with your child allows them to organize and it helps them process what happened.

Sequencing

This simply means putting or telling the story in order.  You can have your child draw a sequence of pictures, play a game where each member of the family has to tell what happens next, or list events that happened in the movie and have your child put them in order.  Sequencing is a great way to target time concepts using words like: first, second, last, before, after, next, then, etc.

Summarizing

This includes stating the main idea of the movie and providing supporting details.  First, it is important to help them focus on the main idea by having them state 2-10 words that truly sum up the big idea of the story.  Next, working on retelling specific details and descriptions that support the main idea are a great way to practice summary skills. Older children can even be asked to form a written summary or review of the movie as well.

Vocabulary

Watching movies is a great way to expose your child to new words!  Having your child guess the meaning of new words based on context clues is a great way to practice functional vocabulary skills.  In addition, selecting a character, word, or place in a movie and allowing your child to describe it’s features, function, category, and location are another great way to expand those vocabulary connections!

Compare/Contrast

Whether it is talking about similarities and differences between characters, locations, or another movie, this is a great language skill for children of all ages.  Simply listing how things are alike and different, or for older kids creating simple compare/contrast bubble organizers are a great way to practice this skill.

Incorporating these activities can be easy and informal but really benefit your child’s overall language skills.  Using simple questions and activities will not only engage your child but teach them to be critical thinkers in all of their daily activities.  Grab some popcorn and settle in for a movie with the family this Friday night!

-Katie Pankiw, Speech Therapist