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Film in primary literacy

The language of film

Most children arrive in school already knowing something about the language of cinema. As teachers, we also bring experience of the moving image to the classroom. What may be missing, however, is the vocabulary with which to share and extend what we know. Some of the terms we teach in when reading books are interchangeable with that of reading film, such as ‘character’, ‘setting’, ‘build-up’, ‘resolution’ etc.

However, there is some additional, technical vocabulary that needs to be introduced when using film with children; these terms contribute to the understanding of how film texts are constructed as well as providing a language with which to discuss what is seen and heard. On the next page you will find some of the key terms that children need to be familiar with.