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Way to start school: Get students to read The Maze Runner, then go to the movie

favicon We know that reluctant readers like book-movies — that is to say, books that are also movies. Even better are book-movies-to-be. Students can read the book, then go see the movie, and everyone is happy.

Back in the day (a few years ago), Hollywood didn’t entirely understand the widespread appeal of young adult books and their ability to amass large box office returns. Sure, there was Harry Potter, but for the most part, there weren’t too many books turned into films.

That has changed dramatically. Since The Hunger Games, things have picked up. Divergent was big, and The Fault in Our Stars was huge this summer.

And now, coming September 19, is The Maze Runner. Here’s the trailer:

Published in 2009 and written by James Dashner, the book has been medium-popular among students the past couple years. But my prediction is that marketing for the movie will make reading the book much more desirable right at the beginning of school.

So, teachers, here’s an idea: Encourage your students (especially boys) to read The Maze Runner, and tell them if they finish it before the film comes out, you’ll take them on a field trip to see the movie, followed by a discussion comparing the book with the movie.

(On a related note: Book-movie clubs are another great way to promote reading.)

No, sorry, I don’t have ideas about how to fund the field trip, besides asking families to pay for their kid’s movie ticket. It’s possible, I suppose, to do a DonorsChoose project, but it would be considered a special event and perhaps use up too many of your DonorsChoose points. (If you have ideas about how to raise money for the field trip, leave them in the comments.)

Loyal Iserotope readers and Kindle Classroom Project donors: You’ll be happy to note that the entire Maze Runner series is already in the Kindle Library. But I’d like to make sure that there is also one physical copy of The Maze Runner in each of the five Kindle classrooms. (This is also to promote my long-term project of library classroom mirroring.)

Want to help? If you’d like to buy one (or all five, for $32.45, before tax and shipping), click on the cover below. It should take you directly to Amazon to buy the book. When you continue through your cart, you should be able to send it directly to my “gift registry address.”


I can’t wait to tell Tess and Marni and Abby and the other KCP teachers about my idea. My hunch is that they’re going to be interested. We’ll see if the students are, too. If they are, I’ll keep everyone posted, and maybe you can come see the movie, too!

Let me know what you think by leaving a brilliant insight. favicon


  1. Iris

    Love this idea! I have to admit that I read Divergent after seeing the movie trailer that said “based on the book”, long before I knew anything about how popular the book was with young adult readers. I think it would be a great incentive to get kids to read the books. I’ve never heard of this one, but I’m going to put it on my own Kindle and read it!

  2. phil

    It is a great idea…will read it with my 9th grade here in Germany…in English of course… 🙂
    I was wondering…does the movie cover all three books? Or just the first one?

    Gotta come up with lots of activities … 🙂

    • Mark Isero

      Thanks, Phil. I wonder how my students would do reading the book in German! As far as I know, the book covers just the first book. (Movie producers will try to make as much money as possible.) Have a great school year!

  3. Marni Spitz

    I am SO EXCITED BY THIS!! Hopefully, I won’t embarrass myself by crying my eyes out like I did when I took some of my ladies to Fault in Our Stars! As always, brilliant idea Mark!

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