When I found out our school was going 1:1, I was very excited.  I felt ready to ntegrate technology due to coursework I had taken through our local writing project, Prairie Lands Writing Project.  This learning track is structured around 21st Century learning.  We experienced many technology integrated writing assignments to better engage students in the writing process.  One of my favorites was creating Book Trailers.  The Book Trailer was introduced as an alternative to the traditional book report.

We all know how traditional book reports work:  read a book, then write a summary to prove you read the book.  I have had to dragthem out of my students in the past and can relate because teachers had to drag them out of me.

So what is a Book Trailer?  It’s simply an advertisement for a book.  Like a movie trailer, it highlights story elements without giving everything away to entice your interest.

Here is a sample:

Deep and Dark and Dangerous by Mary Downing Hahn

Ready to try your own?  Here are the steps:

  • Read and book.
  • Write a summary outline.  This is usually where the book report process stops.  I required their summary outline to have an introductory sentence and the last sentence should be a closing sentence, for example “Read Deep and Dark and Dangerous for a chilling mystery..”
  • Create a stor board.  The storyboard is like a sketch for your Book Trailer.  I used a storyboard with 9 square sections.  The first section being the introductory sentence and the last section the closing sentence.  Students then have 7 sections to fill in between with the message they want to give to viewers.
  • Match images to your words.  After student writing is on the storyboard, students then list ideas for images that match the words they have written.  The first and last sections I suggested to students to have the images be the book cover.  I always had them try to put 2-3 ideas for images on each square.
  • Place images in iMovie.  There are many tutorials on using iMovie available on the internet.  Here is a link to one found within this blog:  Helping Students Make Better Movies on iPad.
  • The last step is to add your words into the movie.  This could be done two ways:  Reading their writing to create a voiceover on their iMovie or type their outline summary directly onto the slides of their iMovie.  I encouraged students to try the voiceover to practice fluency in their reading, but I allowed some to type because I know some students were uncomfortable doing the voiceover.

As students began finishing their projects, we had a class viewing party to watch their Book Trailers.  It was during this time that students saw their product on the big screen and this is when they noticed technical issues like the slide not being displayed long enough for the viewer to read the writing on the slide or if their spoken words did not match their images.

Here is a sample of an unfinished book trailer we viewed during the viewing party:

Carley’s Book Trailer

After the viewing party, students gave suggestions and asked questions of the creators.  This helped those students to make their Book Trailers better.  Ultimately other students in the class became enticed to read the books because of watching the book trailers of their peers.  This got some of my most reluctant readers excited about reading and making a new kind of “book report.”

Need more resources and example?  Below are my favorites.

Book Trailers for Readers This is an amazing collection of both student and professionally made book trailers.

Reading, Active and Engaging Book Trailer wiki page

Kickapoo Book Trailers wiki

How to Make a Book Trailer Prezi

Ideas for Assessment


Misty Burright

Misty Burright is a Nationally Board Certified Teacher who has taught in both the visual art room and regular classroom.  Being a Writing Project Teacher Consultant, Misty has taught in a 1:1 iPad classroom and has conducted professional development sessions regarding visual art, writing and technology integration.