Cinema Studies for Literature Learning in High School

Cinema Studies for Literature Learning is a Language Arts curriculum for homeschool high school.

It is geared to the visual learner in high school, to those who are reluctant readers or for whom reading is very time-consuming, and to those who love movies! Good movies tell good stories, and good storytelling requires the use of traditionally respected literary devices and techniques. With a little help from a study guide, many movies introduce the viewer to excellent literature that is being presented in a visual medium.

Cinema Studies for Literature Learning in High School. Movies can be a valuable part of high school Language Arts lessons. #7SistersHomeschool #HomeschoolLanguageArts #MoviesForLiteratureClass #CinemaStudiesForLiterature #HomeschoolHighSchool

Cinema Studies for Literature Learning in High School

Several of our own homeschool high schoolers had a LOVE for cinematography. They studied extra material on DVD copies of their movies. They started their own production companies for competitions during high school. With this love of movies, we realized we could capitalize on their passion and create a Language Arts course that focused on real movies.

That is how Cinema Studies for Literature Learning was born. Homeschool high schoolers have loved it. It is great for individual, family or co-op studies. Using movies as literature study is a great option for high school students who become overwhelmed with a demanding reading list.

Cinema Studies for Literature Learning
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Can you REALLY use movies as literature?

While reading books is still a necessary part of a teen’s high school education, ANALYSIS skills for literature is just as important. In Cinema Studies for Literature Learning, we teach analysis skills in the context of studying the great stories in great movies. In this way, teens get some basic Language Arts tools that they need.

As with all curriculum from, in Cinema Studies for Literature Learning, we aim for no-busywork and no-overkill, instead offering teens a chance to build critical thinking skills while earning high school credit.

Here’s how Cinema Studies for Literature Learning guides work:

Each study guide asks the student to:

  • Read the introductory material
  • Watch the movie once (answering questions as they go, occasionally pausing the video)
  • Then take a week to think a bit about the ideas and the literary devices they observed
  • Ideally, students should discuss their answers with someone else to enhance the learning process
    • For a glimpse at what the study guides are like: Click here to view an excerpt from The Truman Show Cinema Study Guide
  • Students then watch the movie a second time after the questions and ideas have had some time to take root
  • Then they write in response to the suggested assignment at the end of the study guide

Writing assignments assume a certain degree of basic understanding on the part of the student regarding paragraph structure and essay form. (If your teen has not practiced essay writing, we recommend that you look into a writing guide like Introductory Guide to High School Essay Writing  available in the ebookstore here.)

Introduction to Essay Writing
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Individual guides are available for the following titles:

  • Rudy
  • High Noon
  • Places in the Heart
  • The Three Musketeers
  • Casablanca
  • What’s Up Doc?
  • A Christmas Carol
  • Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner
  • The Importance of Being Earnest
  • Wizard of Oz
  • 12 Angry Men
  • Field of Dreams
  • Moby Dick
  • The Truman Show
  • Miracle Worker

Here’s a post that shares where to find the movies for Cinema Studies for Literature Learning.

If you would like to try a full YEAR of learning literature through a cinema studies approach, you can order the Cinema Studies for Literature Learning bundle. This collection of fifteen study guides gives introductory material that helps you plan your year for a significant savings off the cost of purchasing all fifteen guides individually!

Teens can learn important literature analysis skills by watching good movies! Cinema Studies for Literature Learning is a great set of guides that help teens enjoy movies and language arts at the same time! #HomeschoolHighSchool #HomeschoolLanguageArts #CinemaStudiesForLiteratureLearning #7SistersHomeschool


The guides explore literary devices and techniques including:

  • Theme
  • Universal and Personal Symbolism
  • Satire
  • Archetype
  • Motivation
  • Internal and External Conflict
  • Static and Dynamic Characters
  • Extended Metaphor
  • Father and Son Stories
  • Fiction as Social Commentary
  • Suspension of Disbelief
  • Dramatic Foils
  • The Nature of Heroism
  • Irony
  • Foreshadowing
  • Composite Characters
  • Classic 3-Act Plot Structure
  • Sub-plot
  • Deus Ex Machina
  • Farce
  • Bildungsroman (Coming of Age Story)
  • Fairy Tales, Legends, Myths, and Allegories
  • Juxtaposition
  • Allusion

Cinema Studies for Literature Learning explores the important IDEAS of story-telling and the power stories have to shape individuals, groups of people, and even entire cultures using the visual medium of movies…all while earning Level 2 Average High School credit in literature toward the core English/Language Arts credit that must be recorded on the transcript each year in high school.

Click here to learn about using Cinema Studies for Literature learning in a co-op.

Movies can also be used to enhance learning of history. Click here to see a list of some of our favorite history movies. Check this post from All Day Every Day Mom about how she used Cinema Studies as part of her high school curriculum.

Click here to see literary elements as illustrated in Disney movies. Here’s a fun post with ways to use these movies and the book that goes with them.

What people are saying:

Here’s a post by Sara May discussing her family’s experience with Cinema Studies for Literature Learning.

New Cinema Studies for Literature Learning for High School











NEW Cinema Studies for Literature Learning in High School





Sabrina Justison

20+ year homeschool mom and curriculum developer for Fred's wife. Writing, drama, music, blogs, kids, shoes, coffee, & books in varying orders on various days. He is God, He is good & He loves me.

8 Replies to “Cinema Studies for Literature Learning in High School”

  1. This amazing, but I want to understand…
    The $15.00 includes all of the movie guides to be downloaded and printed as needed?

    If so this is exactly what I have been looking for:)

  2. For the student guides we prefer to print sheets and handwrite vs fill in answers on the computer. Do the student sheets print well for use either way? Thank you! I am so excited that this curriculum is available!

  3. Looks great. Can you please explain or elaborate on this statement made in the description above? Specifically, what do you mean by Level 2 Average? “…all while earning Level 2 Average credit in literature toward the core English/Language Arts credit…”

  4. I love the idea of cinema studies! I’m wondering if I could see a sample study guide online before purchasing. Also, would this work to do as a co-op?

    • Hi Lisa! There will, indeed, be excerpts to view from each guide. You will find the “click here to view excerpts” link near the bottom of the product description for each title when the guides go “LIVE” at 12:01 a.m. on Black Friday. I have been teaching in our local homeschool group for two years using these guides, and they work GREAT in a co-op class setting. Lots of wonderful discussion.

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