Cinema Studies for Literature Learning: Our Experience

Our 7Sisters Cousin, Sarah May, shares about her family’s experience with Cinema Studies for Literature Learning.

Cinema Studies for Literature Learning: Our Experience

Cinema Studies for Literature Learning: Our Experience

Welcome to our 7Sisters’ Cousin, Sarah May! Sarah May shares SO many excellent free homeschool material and useful how-tos at Freedom Homeschooling. We are so happy to have her on the team. In this post, Sarah May shares about her family’s experiences with learning literature through movies.

Think back to your high school literature classes. Each time the teacher assigned a novel for the class to read, what was one of the first things he or she would say? If your teachers were anything like mine, they never failed to warn the class, “Do not try to watch the movie instead of reading the book. I will be able to tell, and you will never pass the test!”

After hearing this warning throughout high school and college, I was a little skeptical when I heard about 7Sisters Cinema Studies for Literature Learning Study Guides. Rather than using movies as a shortcut to avoid work, like some of us may have attempted in school, these guides use movies as an engaging tool for learning about themes of literature, literary techniques, and more.

Trying a Cinema Studies for Literature Study Guide

Cinema Study Guide Moby Dick
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We decided to try a 7Sisters Cinema Studies for Literature Learning Study Guide. Because our fifteen-year-old son is studying American history and literature this year, I chose Moby Dick, an American classic.

While this novel is a timeless classic that I’d like my son to read, I also know that it is one he would probably have difficulty getting into and may not enjoy as much as other novels. Additionally, we already have several novels on our schedule for the school year, making it difficult to add another lengthy book to the mix.

Our Experience With the Moby Dick Cinema Study Guide

The Moby Dick Cinema Study Guide focuses on symbolism, foreshadowing, irony, and the themes of man versus nature and man versus himself. The guide began with vocabulary words to define. Our son defined these words before starting the movie.

Next were discussion questions.

These questions, which are similar to the discussion and comprehension questions typically found in a novel study, are designed for the student to answer as they watch the movie. Our son was able to answer most of them as he watched the movie, though there were some that he went back to after the movie ended.

The guide concludes with an essay writing assignment.

7Sisters recommends that the student watch the film a second time before completing the writing assignment. While our son is never excited about writing assignments, the straightforward instructions provided in the guide made the essay easier to

What We Liked About the Moby Dick Cinema Study Guide

There are many things I could mention, but some of the things my family appreciated most about the cinema guide include the following:

  • The guide made it easy to expose our son to a classic work of American literature that we may not have covered otherwise.
  • Then, the discussion questions encouraged deeper thinking about the plot and literary elements rather than simplistic comprehension questions.
  • The guide did not include any unnecessary busywork or filler worksheets.
  • Also, the guide was open-and-go with clear instructions, allowing our son to use it independently.
  • Completing this study guide gave our son an opportunity to watch and develop an appreciation for an older movie that he would not usually choose to watch.
Cinema Studies for Literature Learning Full-Year Curriculum
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When I Would Use 7Sisters Cinema Study Guides

Anytime! There is no wrong time to add a 7Sisters Cinema Study Guide, but there are some times that I feel they would be especially beneficial to my family’s homeschool:

  • During the busy holiday season, when it is difficult to find time to complete a novel study
  • When we are falling behind schedule in our homeschool but don’t want to skip covering literary elements
  • Times when we want a fun change of pace from traditional novel studies

Teens Who Would Enjoy 7Sisters Cinema Study Guides

While I think most teens would enjoy 7Sisters Cinema Study Guides, the guides are especially likely to be well-received by teens who:

  • Enjoy watching movies and want to study them more in-depth
  • Do not like to read the types of books typically assigned for school
  • Struggle with reading challenges such as dyslexia

Our Next Cinema Studies for Literature Study Guide: A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol Cinema Study Guide
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Because our family had such a positive experience with the Moby Dick Cinema Study Guide, we plan to use other guides in the future. The next Cinema Guide we will use is A Christmas Carol. We have always taken some time to do special holiday-themed unit studies and lessons around Christmas and other holidays throughout the year. Now that our kids are getting older, it is more challenging to find age-appropriate holiday activities, as many are geared more toward younger kids.

The A Christmas Carol Cinema Study Guide is a great way for families with teenagers to add a fun holiday-themed unit while covering literary elements. The guide covers vocabulary, mood, motif, and the plot of this Christmas classic. We’re looking forward to using the guide this December while we take time off from our usual novel studies.

For more on ways to use movies in your homeschooling, check out this post from Freedom Homeschooling. 

If you are not sure, just try it for something completely new to you, such as 7Sisters Cinema Studies for Literature Learning for learning from movies!.

More cool stuff:

Have you met the rest of the 7Sisters’ Cousins? They have so much wisdom to offer. They also have special products and services. Check them out on the Stuff We Like page.

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Vicki Tillman

Blogger, curriculum developer at, counselor, life and career coach, SYMBIS guide, speaker, prayer person. 20+year veteran homeschool mom.

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