Early Literacy in Everyday Places: The Movies

Taking a trip to the movie theater can be a great way to not only entertain your preschooler or early elementary schoolers, but also to keep cool during the summer heat. Whether you are at the movies, or watching from the comfort of your couch, take advantage of this great opportunity to incorporate some early literacy activities in your outing.

Concessions and Food Sizes

Before you go, take a quick read of Goldilocks and the Three Bears and discuss how objects, food, clothing, etc can be different sizes for different people. Reinforce this concept when you decide what size popcorn or drink to order as you wait in line. Point out the words on the menu board as well as the sample sizes usually on the display on the counter.

Guess the Plot

Take a lot at your ticket stub and play a game of Guess the Plot based on the title. Is the movie based on a book? If you read the book, talk about your expectations for the movie. What scenes, characters or places is your child eager to see on the big screen. Remember to talk about the differences and similarities after the movie. What changed, what stayed the same?

And the Oscar Goes to...

Studies have shown that when children re-act a story they have heard or seen, they in turn strengthen their comprehension, imagination and memory skills. If your child particularly enjoyed the movie, have then act through their favorite scenes. Talk about why they liked the movie, how it differed from the book, what they didn't like, what changes they would make. This helps promote critical thinking skills.

Screenplay Writing is for Everyone

For children who really enjoy the movie theater experience, take this opportunity to discuss screenplays as well as manuscripts for plays. Encourage your child to devise their own story. Write or type it up for them if they are unable to on their own. Encourage the entire family to participate by picking a role and acting out the story. Creative writing and thinking is a wonderful way to expand vocabulary, learn about new places and people as well as bond as a family.

Suggested Titles

Don't forget that these books can count for your 1000 Books Before Kindergarten log.


Maisy Goes to the MoviesIf You Take a Mouse to the MoviesPretty Penny Comes Up Short


Children's Book of the MoviesMovie MagicLights, Camera, Action!