As a kid I always loved being assigned a book to read in school that had a movie. I knew that meant we’d spend at least a day or two of that class watching the movie. Sometimes the movies were good, more often they were bad, but they always lead to great discussions afterwards. I have patterned our homeschool reading lessons after the same model. I assign my kids books, we discuss them, and then watch the movie. It has become a cherished family tradition.
As I go through the books we’ve read and the movies we’ve watched I’ve realized it might be helpful to everyone else reading my posts if they had a general idea of the reading level of these possible book and a movie combos. I am ranking these solely by reading level, not content. So, for instance, Twilight is listed as a fourth-grade reading level because of the difficulty of the words. The content is clearly intended for older kids, and probably wouldn’t be of great interest to fourth graders.
I’ll also never assign it to my kids as a book and a movie because I personally believe vampires are evil and should be staked. Not portrayed as creatures to be pitied
But that’s a different discussion
So here goes broken down by grade level. If the content is more mature than the technical reading level I’ve added an asterisk. I’ve linked to our relevant movie nights if we’ve already learned about those books. I’m also updating as I think of/learn of more movies. When you get to the bottom, I’ve got a special printable for subscribers!
Also, all these Amazon links are going to be affiliate links, so I don’t have to keep marking it.
Picture books and a movie
These the reading level is usually more difficult than the intended audience.
- Zathura (Jumanji’s lesser known sequel)
- How Grinch Who Stole Christmas
- Shrek (though the book is even less like the movie than usual)
- Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
- Pickles to Pittsburgh (the sequel)
- Cat in the Hat
- The Lorax
- Where the Wild Things Are
- Polar Express
- Horton Hatches the Egg
3rd Grade Chapter books and a movie
I was quite surprised to learn a number of books I read in 3rd grade were actually 4th-grade books.
- Ramona books– This was one of our favorite movie adaptations it kept the feel of the books quite well (Ramona movie night)
- Secret Garden* (I did not expect that reading level)
- Stuart Little– So many fun inspirations for snacks for our Stuart Little movie night
4th Grade book and a movie
- James and the Giant Peach– I loved the surrealness of this book as a kid, my kids did not love the James and the Giant Peach movie night
- Best Christmas Pageant Ever– Every year now we have a Best Christmas Pageant Ever movie night
- Because of Winn-Dixie– I love this book so much and our Because of Winn Dixie movie night was awesome
- Fantastic Mr. Fox– I personally would rate this a solid third-grade book
- Twilight*- I’m not even going to link to it
- Charlotte’s Web
- Bridge to Terabithia* (I’m having my 6th graders read this next)
- Holes– we just finished reading/watching this in February of 2017 and it was a huge hit, our Holes Movie night was popular.
- Tale of Despereaux– I could just sit and read Kate DiCamillo all day long, so I loved The Tale of Despereaux movie night
- The Witches– I remember reading this book in 4th grade, and it was awesome, we had many discussions about The Witches movie night
- Bunnicula (I remember reading it in 3rd grade)- Our Bunnicula is the standard for horrible book adaptations
- Mr. Popper’s Penguins (also remember reading it in 3rd grade)- I loved this book, the Mr. Popper’s Penguins Movie night had some of its heart
- Inkheart– Cornelia Funke is another of the authors who I love her world-building
- Where the Red Fern Grows*
5th Grade book and a movie
- Tuck Everlasting– I read this in 6th grade
- Ella Enchanted– This book is second to Bunnicula in being brought up as a terrible movie night (Ella Enchanted movie night)
- Book Thief
- Pippi Longstocking
- Justin Morgan Had a Horse– I read this book so many times as a kid (and we rewatch our Justin Morgan Had a Horse movie night)
- Johnny Tremain– great movie for an American Revolution unit (and our Johnny Tremain movie night was a huge hit)
- Hunger Games*
- Maze Runner*
- Howl’s Moving Castle– I wish more of her books were adapted, but it made for a great movie night
- Old Yeller (this and Johnny Tremain are on the verge of too mature for 5th grade)
- Divergent Series*
- The Fault in Our Stars*
- To Kill a Mockingbird*
- How to Train Your Dragon
- Misty of Chincoteague– my childhood copy is well worn
- Black Cauldron– I happen to dislike the Black Cauldron movie night because it so messed up the book
- Indian in the Cupboard– This was our very first book and a movie night, Indian in the Cupboard movie night
- The Giver– I was a few years too old for this to be on my required reading, but my friends three years younger than me rave about it
6th Grade book and a movie combos
- Jungle Book– I love both the animated movie and the live action that just came out, so would happily use either for our Jungle Book movie night
- Peter Pan– I personally own about 5 copies of this book
- The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe– One of my absolute favorite movie nights was our The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe movie night
- Black Stallion– I read the entire series as a kid, and it made for a decent Black Stallion movie night.
- The Lord of the Rings– we do this as a Lord of the Rings Movie Marathon, complete with meals and everything
- The Hobbit– We basically redid our Lord of the Ring snacks when we did the movie marathon
- Dracula– oddly enough I read it in high school in Spanish
- My Side of the Mountain– my kids love this one
- Harry Potter– I love this book series, and we also had a Harry Potter movie marathon one year
7th/8th Grade book/movie combos
- Dark is Rising– This movie stinks, it’s absolutely terrible, and yet I watched it because I wanted to torture my kids, okay I have no clue why I did this to myself, but the book series is awesome
- Princess Bride– It is inconceivable that you have not read this book. Also, I love this movie. It’s one of the rare times I broke my rule about reading the book before seeing the movie.
- Little Women– I searched awhile to find one I liked the cover picture, I’ll be honest, and then cheated and used the one from my Mom’s book I read growing up.
- Mary Poppins– This would be the only other book I broke my rule on (oh wait, I also did for Bedknobs and Broomsticks, but that book is so different from the movie and very weird)
- Swiss Family Robinson– Okay, it must be this grade range because my kids have also seen this one. But, I’ve stayed strong on 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea…..
- 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
- Journey to the Center of the Earth
High School book and a movie
(These may have lower reading levels but are traditionally assigned as reading for high school, so I didn’t check the reading level, just being honest)
- Pride and Prejudice
- Sense and Sensibility
- Great Expectations (Complete honesty, I hate this book, it’s the only required reading book I threatened to burn)
- One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest
- The Great Gatsby
- DaVinci Code (I almost didn’t include it because I think the writing is THAT bad, but it also has some great conversations to have)
- Gone With the Wind
- Bridget Jones Diary (I haven’t read this one, so it may have similar reading quality to DaVinci Code, I didn’t particularly like the movie of it, but it could make a comparison to Pride and Prejudice that it’s supposed to be based off of)
- Les Miserables
- Phantom of the Opera
- Jurassic Park (as I’m finishing this list, I realize there’s several others, but this has some great ethical questions to discuss)
- The Color Purple
Do you love this information and wish you could take it with you to the book store? Then I’ve got you covered because you can sign up for my newsletter and get this all as a cute PDF that can easily be made into a bookmark for stowing in your books or your purse. Each grade or interest level is broken down into its own bookmark.
Check out more great reading lists over at iHomeschool Network Must Read books (this link goes live January 23, but I know I’ll forget to put it in later, because I’m forgetful like that)