25 Books to Read Aloud to Your Kids Then Watch the Movie!
Are your kids super squirmy during read aloud time?
Is it a struggle to get through the chapter?
Have you been too nervous to even try a read aloud book for your homeschool?
I completely understand.
It can be a real challenge to get kids of different ages, interests, and genders to sit and listen for 10+ minutes to a chapter book.
But when I told my kids we were going to start reading a book that had been made into a movie – they were so excited!
Reading books that have been made into movies is like building a bridge to our screen obsessed kids.
I think it heightens their interest and excites their imagination to know that they will see these characters and scenes played out.
They are more motivated and engaged with the story and that helps them to listen better.
And when they finally get to see the story played out in a movie, it is a joy to see the sparkle in their eye as they meet the characters they have only seen in their minds.
The whole experience is magic and has become one of the best parts of our homeschool!
The Fun Twist When You Watch a Movie after Reading the Book
As most of us know, the book is usually not even close to as good as the movie – but kids are really hard to convince of this!
I still remember seeing the disappointed look in my kid’s face when the credits started coming down after watching “The Indian in the Cupboard.”
The characters were not nearly as rich or developed in the movie.
There were missing scenes and even some missing characters.
When you read a book and then watch a movie, you have the awesome opportunity to show your kids the magic and power of books when they are directly compared to movies/screens.
That will motivate your kids tremendously to continue on the path of being life long readers!
Discussion Questions to Ask Your Kids After Reading the Book and Watching the Movie
I thought about making a printable with these questions, but I thought that might make it too formal and take a lot of the fun away from the experience for some kids.
Who wants to fill out a worksheet after watching an exciting adventure movie?!
Instead, I wanted to prompt you as the parent to think of some questions to ask your kids after reading the book:
Which character is your favorite?
What do you think they’ll look like in the movie?
What was your favorite part of the book? Why?
Do you think you’ll like the book or the movie better?
And after watching the movie, ask your kids:
Did the characters look like they did in your mind?
What was your favorite part of the movie? Why?
Was there anything missing or different in the movie?
Why do you think they made those changes in the movie?
Which did you like better – the movie or the book? Why?
These are some great conversation questions to help your child dig deeper into the plot, characters, and climax of the story.
25 Best Books to Read Aloud then Watch the Movie with Your Kids!
1. Nim’s Island
Book: Nim’s Island
Streaming Movie: Nim’s Island
“A girl. An iguana. An island. And e-mail. Meet Nim–a modern-day Robinson Crusoe! She can chop down bananas with a machete, climb tall palm trees, and start a fire with a piece of glass. So she’s not afraid when her scientist dad sails off to study plankton for three days, leaving her alone on their island. Besides, it’s not as if no one’s looking after her–she’s got a sea lion to mother her and an iguana for comic relief. She also has an interesting new e-mail pal. But when her father’s cell-phone calls stop coming and disaster seems near, Nim has to be stronger and braver than she’s ever been before. And she’ll need all her friends to help her.”
2. Stuart Little
Streaming Movie: Stuart Little
“Stuart Little is no ordinary mouse. Born to a family of humans, he lives in New York City with his parents, his older brother George, and Snowbell the cat. Though he’s shy and thoughtful, he’s also a true lover of adventure.
Stuart’s greatest adventure comes when his best friend, a beautiful little bird named Margalo, disappears from her nest. Determined to track her down, Stuart ventures away from home for the very first time in his life. He finds adventure aplenty. But will he find his friend?”
3. Harriet the Spy
Streaming Movie: Harriet The Spy
“Harriet M. Welsch is a spy. In her notebook, she writes down everything she knows about everyone, even her classmates and her best friends. Then Harriet loses track of her notebook, and it ends up in the wrong hands. Before she can stop them, her friends have read the always truthful, sometimes awful things she’s written about each of them. Will Harriet find a way to put her life and her friendships back together?”
4. Black Beauty
“When Black Beauty was born one sweet spring day, he could not have imagined the life ahead of him. Following his mother’s advice to do his work with a good will, he enjoys the adventures of country and city life, makes new friends, and suffers from the cruelty and greed of his human masters. Beauty faces each challenge with bravery and kindness — and then a chance encounter with an old friend brings him the greatest joy of all.”
5. Charlotte’s Web
Streaming Move: Charlotte’s Web
“Some Pig. Humble. Radiant. These are the words in Charlotte’s Web, high up in Zuckerman’s barn. Charlotte’s spiderweb tells of her feelings for a little pig named Wilbur, who simply wants a friend. They also express the love of a girl named Fern, who saved Wilbur’s life when he was born the runt of his litter.”
6. The Indian in the Cupboard
Book: The Indian In The Cupboard
Streaming Movie: The Indian In The Cupboard
“It’s Omri’s birthday, but all he gets from his best friend, Patrick, is a little plastic Indian toy. Trying to hide his disappointment, Omri puts the Indian in a metal cupboard and locks the door with a mysterious skeleton key that once belonged to his great-grandmother. Little does Omri know that by turning the key, he will transform his ordinary plastic Indian into a real live man from an altogether different time and place! Omri and the tiny warrior called Little Bear could hardly be more different, yet soon the two forge a very special friendship. Will Omri be able to keep Little Bear without anyone finding out and taking his precious Indian from him?”
“Matilda is a sweet, exceptional young girl, but her parents think she’s just a nuisance. She expects school to be different but there she has to face Miss Trunchbull, a kid-hating terror of a headmistress. When Matilda is attacked by the Trunchbull she suddenly discovers she has a remarkable power with which to fight back. It’ll take a superhuman genius to give Miss Trunchbull what she deserves and Matilda may be just the one to do it!”
8. The BFG
“The BFG is no ordinary bone-crunching giant. He is far too nice and jumbly. It’s lucky for Sophie that he is. Had she been carried off in the middle of the night by the Bloodbottler, or any of the other giants—rather than the BFG—she would have soon become breakfast. When Sophie hears that the giants are flush-bunking off to England to swollomp a few nice little chiddlers, she decides she must stop them once and for all. And the BFG is going to help her!”
9. James and the Giant Peach
Book: James and the Giant Peach
Streaming Movie: James and the Giant Peach
“After James Henry Trotter’s parents are tragically eaten by a rhinoceros, he goes to live with his two horrible aunts, Spiker and Sponge. Life there is no fun, until James accidentally drops some magic crystals by the old peach tree and strange things start to happen. The peach at the top of the tree begins to grow, and before long it’s as big as a house. Inside, James meets a bunch of oversized friends—Grasshopper, Centipede, Ladybug, and more. With a snip of the stem, the peach starts rolling away, and the great adventure begins!”
10. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Book: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Streaming Movie: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
“Willy Wonka’s famous chocolate factory is opening at last! But only five lucky children will be allowed inside. And the winners are: Augustus Gloop, an enormously fat boy whose hobby is eating; Veruca Salt, a spoiled-rotten brat whose parents are wrapped around her little finger; Violet Beauregarde, a dim-witted gum-chewer with the fastest jaws around; Mike Teavee, a toy pistol-toting gangster-in-training who is obsessed with television; and Charlie Bucket, Our Hero, a boy who is honest and kind, brave and true, and good and ready for the wildest time of his life!”
11. Sarah Plain and Tall
DVD Movie: Sarah Plain and Tall
“Set in the late nineteenth century and told from young Anna’s point of view, Sarah, Plain and Tall tells the story of how Sarah Elisabeth Wheaton comes from Maine to the prairie to answer Papa’s advertisement for a wife and mother. Before Sarah arrives, Anna and her younger brother Caleb wait and wonder. Will Sarah be nice? Will she sing? Will she stay?”
12. Marry Poppins
“From the moment Mary Poppins arrives at Number Seventeen Cherry-Tree Lane, everyday life at the Banks house is forever changed. It all starts when Mary Poppins is blown by the east wind onto the doorstep of the Banks house. She becomes a most unusual nanny to Jane, Michael, and the twins. Who else but Mary Poppins can slide up banisters, pull an entire armchair out of an empty carpetbag, and make a dose of medicine taste like delicious lime-juice cordial? A day with Mary Poppins is a day of magic and make-believe come to life!”
13. The Borrowers
Streaming Movie: The Borrowers
“The Borrowers—the Clock family: Homily, Pod, and their fourteen-year-old daughter, Arrietty, to be precise—are tiny people who live underneath the kitchen floor of an old English country manor. All their minuscule home furnishings, from postage stamp paintings to champagne cork chairs, are “borrowed” from the “human beans” who tromp around loudly above them. All is well until Pod is spotted upstairs by a human boy! Can the Clocks stay nested safely in their beloved hidden home, or will they be forced to flee?”
14. Ella Enchanted
Streaming Movie: Ella Enchanted
“At her birth, Ella of Frell receives a foolish fairy’s gift—the “gift” of obedience. Ella must obey any order, whether it’s to hop on one foot for a day and a half, or to chop off her own head! But strong-willed Ella does not accept her fate…Against a bold backdrop of princes, ogres, giants, wicked stepsisters, and fairy godmothers, Ella goes on a quest to break the curse forever.”
15. How to Train Your Dragon
Book: How To Train Your Dragon
Streaming Movie: How To Train Your Dragon
“Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III, the quiet and thoughtful son of the Chief of the Hairy Hooligans, tries to pass the important initiation test of his Viking clan by catching and training a dragon. Can Hiccup do it without being torn limb from limb? Join his adventures and misadventures as he finds a new way to train dragons–and becomes a hero.”
16. Tuck Everlasting
Streaming Movie: Tuck Everlasting
“Is eternal life a blessing or a curse? That is what young Winnie Foster must decide when she discovers a spring on her family’s property whose waters grant immortality. Members of the Tuck family, having drunk from the spring, tell Winnie of their experiences watching life go by and never growing older. But then Winnie must decide whether or not to keep the Tucks’ secret―and whether or not to join them on their never-ending journey.”
17. Old Yeller
“When his father sets out on a cattle drive toward Kansas for the summer, fourteen-year-old Travis Coates is left to take care of his family and their farm. Living in Texas Hill Country during the 1860s, Travis comes to face new, unanticipated, and often perilous responsibilities in the frontier wilderness. A particular nuisance is a stray yellow dog that shows up one day and steals food from the family. But the big canine who Travis calls “Old Yeller” proves his worth by defending the family from danger. And Travis ultimately finds help and comfort in the courage and unwavering love of the dog who comes to be his very best friend.”
18. Where the Red Fern Grows
Book: Where The Red Fern Grows
Streaming Movie: Where The Red Fern Grows
“Billy has long dreamt of owning not one, but two dogs. So when he’s finally able to save up enough money for two pups to call his own—Old Dan and Little Ann—he’s ecstatic. It’s true that times are tough, but together they’ll roam the hills of the Ozarks. Soon Billy and his hounds become the finest hunting team in the valley. Stories of their great achievements spread throughout the region, and the combination of Old Dan’s brawn, Little Ann’s brains, and Billy’s sheer will seems unbeatable. But tragedy awaits these determined hunters—now friends—and Billy learns that hope can grow out of despair.”
19. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Book: The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe
Streaming Movie: The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe
“Narnia…the land beyond the wardrobe door, a secret place frozen in eternal winter, a magical country waiting to be set free. Lucy is the first to find the secret of the wardrobe in the professor’s mysterious old house. At first her brothers and sister don’t believe her when she tells of her visit to the land of Narnia. But soon Edmund, then Peter and Susan step through the wardrobe themselves. In Narnia they find a country buried under the evil enchantment of the White Witch. When they meet the Lion Aslan, they realize they’ve been called to a great adventure and bravely join the battle to free Narnia from the Witch’s sinister spell.”
20. The Secret Garden
Streaming Movie: The Secret Garden
“After tragedy leaves Mary Lennox orphaned, the bratty ten-year-old British girl is sent from her home in India to Yorkshire, to live with Archibald Craven, a distant uncle whom she has never met. At first, life in the isolated Misselthwaite Manor is as cold and desolate as the bleak moor outside her window. Then Mary learns the story of the late Mrs. Craven, the estate’s mistress, who spent hours in a walled garden tending to her roses. Mrs. Craven died after an accident in the garden, and her forlorn husband forbid anyone to enter it again, locking it and burying the key. The tale piques Mary’s curiosity and inspires her to find this secret garden, a search that introduces her to new friends, including a robin redbreast; Dickson, a twelve-year-old boy with a kindness to animals; and Colin, her secluded sickly first-cousin. Spending time in the garden transforms Mary and Colin and ultimately, life at Misselthwaite Manor itself.”
21. The Wizard of Oz
Streaming Movie: The Wizard Of Oz
“The story chronicles the adventures of a young farm girl named Dorothy in the magical Land of Oz, after she and her pet dog Toto are swept away from their Kansas home by a tornado. The book is one of the best-known stories in American literature and has been widely translated. The author followed it up with thirteen additional Oz books.”
“It’s a hard-knock life for America’s favorite orphan! Everyone knows the story of the irrepressible Annie, who lives at Miss Hannigan’s orphanage until she beats the odds and finds a new life with the benevolent and wealthy Daddy Warbucks. Annie has enchanted millions of readers from her original comic strip appearance to the hit Broadway musical. Now, with a Tony-nominated revival playing on Broadway, Puffin is reissuing this novelization of the classic story, with a new introduction by Tony and Emmy Award-winning author Thomas Meehan. This is an adaptation that delves even deeper into Annie’s story, as she lives on the streets during the Great Depression, finds Sandy the dog, and encounters characters both familiar and new.”
23. Pippi Longstocking
Streaming Movie: Pippi Longstocking
“Tommy and his sister Annika have a new neighbor, and her name is Pippi Longstocking. She has crazy red pigtails, no parents to tell her what to do, a horse that lives on her porch, and a pet monkey named Mr. Nilsson. Whether Pippi’s scrubbing her floors, doing arithmetic, or stirring things up at a fancy tea party, her flair for the outrageous always seems to lead to another adventure. “
24. Bridge to Terabithia
Streaming Movie: Bridge To Terabithia
“Jess Aaron’s greatest ambition is to be the fastest runner in the fifth grade. He’s been practicing all summer and can’t wait to see his classmates’ faces when he beats them all. But on the first day of school, a new kid, a new girl, boldly crosses over to the boy’s side of the playground and outruns everyone. That’s not a very promising beginning for a friendship, but Jess and Leslie Burke become inseparable. It doesn’t matter to Jess that leslie dresses funny, or that her family has a lot of money — but no TV. Leslie has imagination. Together, she and Jess create Terabithia, a magical kingdom in the woods where the two of them reign as king and queen, and their imaginations set the only limits. Then one morning a terrible tragedy occurs. Only when Jess is able to come to grips with this tragedy does he finally understand the strength and courage Leslie has given him.”
25. The Little House Series
Streaming Show: Little House On The Praire
“The nine books in the timeless Little House series tell the story of Laura’s real childhood as an American pioneer, and are cherished by readers of all generations. They offer a unique glimpse into life on the American frontier, and tell the heartwarming, unforgettable story of a loving family.”
***I know this is not a movie, but the book and tv series are such amazing classics, I just had to include it. My kids fell in love with the books, and the TV series was everything they had imagined it to be. I hope your kids love it to!
That’s it – My Top 25 Books to Read Aloud and Watch the Movie with Your Kids!
Once you get started reading aloud to your kids, your whole family will be hooked!
My kids look forward to every new book we start and they are always so excited to count down the chapters until they can watch the movie and see the characters and setting come to life!
Are there any I missed?
Share your favorite read aloud books that have been made into movies in the comments!
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I would add Mr. Popper’s Penguins. Great book. Movie is very funny, but very different from the book. My kids enjoyed both anyway.
Also, Little House On the Prairie TV series is nothing like the books. Obviously the family is the same, but the TV series doesn’t follow the books at all. That is one that my kids said ‘no thanks’ too. I have read the whole series aloud to them 3 times and they just can’t get into the TV series. They say it is nothing like what they imagined while hearing my voice read it. Lol! Just a shared experience.
But your list is great. There are a few on here we haven’t read/watched.
Thank you for this amazing list! I wanted to suggest you remove Indian in the Cupboard from your list as it is extremely outdated and no longer culturally appropriate as the picture on the cover and phrase Indian are offensive. 🙂
Thanks for the response, Laura! I would hold on to Indian in the Cupboard because it gives parents an excellent opportunity to talk about cultural issues with their kids. I don’t believe in shielding them or pretending like these things didn’t happen. If I threw out every book with offensive material…I wouldn’t have much left of the classics. I think kids are better for hearing it and having honest, open conversations with their parents about why these things are wrong today.