Brilliant films to support great literacy teaching

I use lots of films in my work. Sometimes I use whole films to base a block of work on, extracts of films to produce focused writing outcomes or short films to have a real grasp of story structure, plot and character development. Here are a few that I have been using lately:

Wreck it Ralph

Wreck it Ralph – A brilliant feel good movie that really tackles the themes of loneliness, being an outsider and friendship.

Character in Wreck it Ralph

We created character studies of Wreck it Ralph, Fix-it Felix, Vanellope and  Calhoun as they are wonderfully stereo typical in some ways, but very deep in others. We also created a lonely hearts ad for Ralph! It is great for looking at dialogue as some of the conversations between Ralph and the sharp tongued Vanellope are very clever and great for drama! Characters like the conniving King Candy are also good for extending more able pupils to try to justify the behaviour of the more manipulative characters:

King Candy

Children can be challenged to write in role as the baddies after watching the wonderful baddies anonymous scene, where they are working through their issues:


I used this very  visual texts with Year 3 to work on descriptive writing. It could be set in any of the arcade games in the film but I used Candy Rush and linked it with the exquisite book – A World of Food by Carl WarnerA-World-of-Food


His second book, Food Landscapes,  is equally breathtaking

Food Landscapes

With different children I used Wreck it Ralph  and another film called Speed Racer, as well as an episode of Wacky Races (intro or part of an episode to inspire a DT/literacy topic where children were asked to design their own go-carts and a race game  They had to create a go-cart and an advertising campaign to support their entry into the race of the century.

Speed Racer       Wacky Races


Here are some photos from one of the schools where I work, Royton Primary School,  where they have done a similar project in Upper Key Stage 2:

 car explanation

car drawing


The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – I am working on a block of learning linked to the Hunger Games films. The books, in the trilogy, are so well written, particularly at created strong, believable characters and the build up of genuine tension, that I can’t wait to get to grips with using the books and films together to get children to really see how powerful writing can be:

Hunger Games

Gravity – I am going to use this film in a block of learning linked to the topic of space. Again this is just an idea at the moment, but I will link it to March’s space week on Channel 4 to help children to imagine what it would really be like to be on a space mission – comparing the mundane (eg. sleeping in space – with the catastrophic (Gravity)


TURBO – A freak accident might just help an everyday garden snail achieve his biggest dream: winning the Indy 500. I was going to use this later in the year linked to mini-beasts and the children creating their own super-hero creatures.


 FROZEN – A prophecy traps a kingdom in eternal winter, so Anna must team up with Kristoff, a daring mountain man, on the grandest of journeys to find the Snow Queen and put an end to the icy spell. Encountering Everest-like extremes, mystical creatures and magic at every turn, Anna and Kristoff battle the elements in a race to save the kingdom from destruction.


This is great for descriptive work, characterisation (as people aren’t always who they seem) and rewriting the plot.

I thought I could link think this to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to explore what would happen if the world was trapped in Winter. I used this late autumn and bought three ‘curtains’ from IKEA with Christmas trees on to hang at the windows to create the feeling of winter. I have also bought lots of cheap white material, from Abakhan in Manchester,  to drape over the classroom furniture to help the pupils imagine we are in a winter wonderland!




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