English literary tradition has produces a number of great works with which we should all be familiar. Schools are doing a good thing when their required reading list includes such works as Of Mice and Men, Moby Dick, Lord of the Flies, and, as much as I despised reading it, maybe even Jane Eyre.
But like any good student, you want to get out of as much work as possible. So, in combining the old and the new, you buy a set of Cliffs Notes and pop popcorn with a movie rental to see if you can glean enough of the story line to pass the test. Noticing the spike in literary movie sales at exam crunch time, MGM marketing director Chris Franchino and his colleagues at Fox Home Entertainment decided to make things even easier by repackaging a few classic movie titles together with the popular study guides.
“Maybe this isn’t a bad idea,” Franchino says of the strategy involved in the new series. “The students are already doing it and maybe we can actually try to make it more educational.” jam!
Thus the Cliffs Notes Ultimate Study Guide was born. And available at my grocery store.
But wait! Why stop at high school and college kids trying to cut a few corners in their reading list? There is also a new Follow Along series aimed at young children to help improve reading skills. Busy parents no longer have to sit down and read to their children to promote literacy in early childhood. Now, it is as simple as turning on the captioning button.
As a word is spoken, it lights up in the oversized captions. American educator Helen Hoffner, who has spent two decades researching the potential of captioning before consulting on these DVDs, tells Sun Media that the series has a simple, elegant benefit.
“I see it building language skills. It is something very easy and inexpensive for parents because it is as easy as turning on the captioning button. Children, when they’re two or two years old, have to get the idea that these squiggly symbols that are letters really represent words.” Ibid.
We have talked about what happens to the brain during television viewing before. But even very young children are already being immersed in media, and most parents think it is good for children. With reviews like this, who is going to question that? So now we will attempt to learn to read with captioning and learn about our literary tradition with MGM. I guess it fits.