Read This, Watch That: Book & Netflix Combos for Kids

a mom and two daughters sit on a couch; the mom holds a remote

Kids seem to have a natural draw towards movies and TV shows. I say there is nothing wrong with using that natural attraction to motivate them to read! After all, some kids need extra motivation to read a book. Even though my kids enjoy reading, they have trouble starting new books or a new series. During those times, I look for extra motivation to get them to dig into new titles. The best motivation I’ve found so far is promising to watch the movie when we finish the book.

With a literature-rich curriculum like BookShark, you are reading dozens of books each year. Watching the film adaptation of a few of them is a great reward for your fifth day without lessons. Or you can use the film version to reinforce your homeschool curriculum on family movie night, creating a home environment that savors great storytelling and blurs the line between study and play.

There are great benefits to a book and movie combo. Of course, the most obvious is comparing and contrasting the two versions. Here are questions to discuss:

  • How does the storyline compare?
  • Are the characters the same?
  • Are the setting, costumes, and accents as you imagined from the book?
  • What parts did the screenwriters add or eliminate? Why did they do that? Would you have done the same?
  • Which version did you enjoy more?

Sometimes watching and enjoying a movie first entices kids to want to read the book as well. This backwards method works especially well if there is an entire series but only the first book has been made into a film. A movie can entice children into a fictional world so deeply that they are willing to overcome a reluctance to read just to hear more of the story.

Here are my top picks for book plus Netflix movie combinations. Grab the book from your bookshelf or borrow it from the library, snuggle up to read, and then gather the family for movie night!

NOTE: Many of these movies are no longer available at Netflix although they were at the time of this article's first publication. Hopefully you can locate them on other streaming platforms.

Read This - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Watch That - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005 version with Johnny Depp)

Charlie wins a tour of the local chocolate factory, fun by Willy Wonka. The factory is full of magnificent rooms included a chocolate waterfall, a candy invention room, and a teleporter.

Read This - The Little Prince

Watch That - The Little Prince

The Little Prince is a boy who travels from his home on an asteroid to the planet Earth. Along the way he meets many types of creatures.

Read This - The Invention of Hugo Cabret

Watch That - Hugo

Hugo is an orphan who is tasked with maintaining all the clocks in the train station. Using his tools and knowledge, he attempts to reconstruct an automaton (animated toy) that he had originally found with his father (now deceased).

Read This - Holes

Watch That - Holes

Holes tells the story of an unlucky boy who was caught stealing. He is sent to a juvenile detention camp where they dig holes day after day.

Read This - Iron Giant

Watch That - The Iron Giant

When a giant robot falls from space, a young boy is determined to keep it safe from being found and destroyed.

Read This - Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Watch That - Alice Through the Looking Glass

When Alice falls into a rabbit hole, she finds herself in a bizarre fantasy world. There she meets soldiers made of playing cards and food that can cause you to grow or shrink.

Read This, Watch That: Book & Netflix Combos for KidsRead This - The Giver (Included in BookShark Level 8 Literature & Language Arts Package)

Watch That - The Giver

Jonas is a boy who lives in a perfect society, or so it seems. The story begs the question, what would you be willing to give up to live in utopia?

Read This - Coraline

Watch That - Coraline

Coraline is a girl who is tempted by a secret door to a parallel world, identical to her own. She is tempted by the people in the parallel world but learns, too late, that they are not all they claim to be.

Read This - Big Friendly Giant

Watch That - The BFG

In a world where giants a huge beings that eat children, one friendly giant sticks out. The BFG attempts to protect a little girl from the rest of his brothers.

Read This - How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Watch That - How the Grinch Stole Christmas

The Grinch is sick of Christmas the the Whoos in the nearest town who insist on celebrating the holiday loudly. His attempt to steal Christmas backfires when he realizes he does have a heart.

Read This - The Secret Garden

Watch That - The Secret Garden

The Secret Garden is the story of two sick children who find joy in a garden that was meant to be locked away.

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Erin BrownAbout the Author

Erin blogs at where she inspires people to make learning fun!  Through printables, games, activities, and unit studies, learning becomes an adventure worth having.