It takes time to select texts to use in class, and even longer to pre-read them, so I really value strategies that can lead me to those golden nuggets more quickly.  Recommendations from fellow educators and students have resulted in the most engaging class books (click here to share your favorites).  The other resource that I have embraced lately is book trailers.  These are short films (about 2 minutes) featuring live action footage, still images, captions or text, and an audio component such as music and narration.  Think of them as a movie preview, but for books.  Like many students, I’m drawn to video.  In fact, I’ll admit, I was about to write this post featuring a book trailer without any intention of reading the book itself…but then I watched this:

…And then I watched the author’s video about the making of the book trailer (haunting footage in creepy, abandoned European buildings). I was hooked. I jumped out of my seat, hollered over to Ashley, (my favorite Library Systems Technician here at the HERC) and said, “Do we have a copy of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children?” Two minutes later I had it in my eager hands. This title will be on the big screen in September, so if you’re quick, your students could get a jump on the book before the movie comes out.

In addition to helping teachers preview texts, an engaging book trailer can sell your students on a book or allow them to get a feel for the story in a few minutes.  Another aspect of book trailers that make them an excellent teaching resource is that your students can create them.  I’ve had my students use the Imovie trailer template on Ipads (and some have even done it on their Iphones) but there are also programs like WeVideo which make it just as easy on a tablet or Chromebook.  Tutorials like this can get you going, but honestly, if you can give the students some guidelines and examples, they will figure out the latest and greatest tech applications.  If you decide to have your class make book trailers, this article from Edutopia provides a potential timeline for your project.

Where can you find example book trailers?  I stumbled upon some great playlists of professionally made trailers for children’s books and young adult readers.  There are also gobs of student-made flicks on Youtube (You can create a custom playlist of your own as a bank of examples).  

Have you already made book trailers with your class?  Can you offer up some tips or share some links to riveting book trailers with us?  On that note, my parting bit of advice is this…when all is said and done and it is time to sit back and have a mini-film fest in your class, you’re going to want one of those old school, 1970’s air poppers for the popcorn.  They’re the best.


C’mon, let’s populate a list of links in the comment section so that we have a bank of videos to feature for Book Trailer Tuesdays!