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Book Trailers

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Keywords: booktalks, booktalking, book talk, book talking, book reports, book trailers
Subject(s): Video, Technology, Writing, Reading, Information Skills, English/Language Arts
Grades 6 through 8
NETS-S Standard:
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Digital Citizenship
  • Technology Operations and Concepts
View Full Text of Standards
School: Rogers-Herr Middle School, Durham, NC
Planned By: Jenny Umbarger
Original Author: Jenny Umbarger, Durham
Students will listen to teacher-created book talk. Then students will view teacher-created book trailer on same book. Discuss which format enticed them more and why.

Discuss definition and purpose of book talking. Explain that book talk is NOT a book review or plot summary. A book talk sells a book and is a means of promotion; it is designed to persuade the listener/viewer to read the book. Discuss five objectives of book talking, as identified by Margaret Edwards:
-Sell reading for pleasure
-Introduce new ideas and new fields of reading
-Develop appreciation of style and character portrayal
-Lift the level of reading by introducing the best books the audience can read with pleasure
-Humanize books, the library, and the librarian

Discuss reasons why book trailers may be more appealing than book talks. Students will view several book trailers from a variety of sources (School Library Journal Trailee Awards at http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/slj/home/887006-312/school_library_journal_trailee_awards.html.csp,UNC-Chapel Hill Library Science student-created trailers at http://rftldurhamcounty.pbworks.com/w/page/29987340/Booktrailers,and others) to determine what makes the book trailers effective (choice of images, music, sound effects, etc.).

Brainstorm how to select a book that would be good for a book trailer. Sample answers include:
-you have read the book and enjoyed it
-you think others would enjoy the book
-book is new to the collection and trailer is a good way to publicize

The most important rule: Don't book talk a book unless you've read and enjoyed it yourself!

Students will select a book to read (or that they have read) for their book trailer. The book must currently be in the school library collection. Students will complete a story map identifying basic literary elements (title, author, setting, plot, theme, characters, conflict, problem, climax, solution, etc.) to identify potential elements and styles for their book trailer.

Share the following guidelines with students:
-First sentence should grab the attention of the audience. This is called a "hook" and will draw the audience into the story and gain their attention. A good hook may be a read-aloud passage with considerable action that quickly grabs the audience.
-Show the book/mention title at the beginning and at the end (or at least at the end).
-Don't give a detailed plot summary or the ending.
-Last sentence needs to be memorable and leave the readers with a desire to read the book. "Read this book to find out" is a very common ending and overused.
-Be creative!

Students will write a book talk for their selected title. They will then develop a storyboard of their book trailer including pictures, video, text, audio and any transitions. The style of the story board for the book trailer should match the book.

Discuss copyright issues with students and the need to cite sources. Identify which sources will be used to obtain images, videos, music and sound effects. Students will then locate the resources they will include in their trailer and save all of the resources to a project folder.

Using their storyboard, students will develop a book trailer in a tool that is new to them. Choices may include Windows Movie Maker, Frames, Photo-story, Tool Factory Movie Maker, and Visual Communicator. Students will add credits to their book trailer.

Students will share their book talk and book trailer with a partner. Pairs will compare and contrast the two, and identify strengths and areas of improvement for both formats.

Students will update their book trailers based upon feedback and review of otherís book trailers and submit final copy to teacher. Book trailers will then be linked to the title's record in the library catalog.
I first teach this lesson to my student media assistants, and then have them help me teach it to language arts classes.
Materials: Flip Video, Digital Voice Recorders, Microphones, Video Tools, Reading, Literacy, Writing, Integrating Technology