A school break can be an ideal time to read more books and watch more movies-and if you coordinate this kind of fun into a family activity, there may be far more benefits for your children than what first meets the eye.

“Watching a movie gives children and adults an opportunity to discuss the content together, covering its events, dilemmas and moral implications,” says Dr. Andrea Pastorok, educational psychologist for Kumon Math and Reading Centers. “Moreover, reading a book based on a movie provides opportunities to revisit the tale in another format. This combination sharpens boh comprehension and decoding abilities, two of the most important skills for future academics and for life.”

Reading the book first is recommended so that children use their imagination to bring the story, characters and scenes alive. On the other hand, the movie may spark a child’s interest to read the book, so a little parental flexibility on this could achieve the same goal.

Most story lines contain conflicts or problems. Dr. Pastorok recommends using them as points of discussion with your child. “Talk about the conflict of the various characters by asking: ‘How would you handle that dilemma?’ Also, ask your child which version of the story he or she likes best, and why,” she says.

Dr. Pastorok also suggests choosing titles from Kumon’s Recommended Reading List, which pairs some of the most popular books with their corresponding movies:

• “Charlotte’s Web”

• “Jumanji”

• “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”

• “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”

• “The Wizard of Oz”

• “Pippi Longstocking”

• “Alice in Wonderland”

• “The Secret Garden”

• “A Wrinkle in Time”

• “Clifford the Big Red Dog”

• “Curious George”

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