3089163372_f5e0e4afc8_s.jpg Book Trailers

Classroom/Literacy Support teacher Kristy Kilpatrick and I (Librarian/Technology Teacher) piloted book trailers this year and had great success with it. Kristy's grade 6 students created a book trailer for a picture book and her grade 7 students created a book trailer for a novel. We have ironed out most of the glitches for the project. This page is a combination of resources, ideas, handouts/graphic organizers and lessons to help you and your students create booktrailers.The students used Windows Movie Maker to make their trailers, and with two blocks a week it took us two months to complete. The project is a good way to assess reading comprehension.


a) What is a book trailer and how is it different than a book talk?

This is a good question! Both are trying to "sell" the book to the audience. A book talk is a presentation given by the student either in real time or taped and played on video. A book talk gives a summary and information about the author. A book trailer is similar to a movie trailer and while the preliminary work occurs in the classroom, it's completed in digital form. A book trailer attempts to "hook" the audience with images, music and words or short sentences, without giving away the book.

b) Watch professional, teacher created, and student created book trailers and have students evaluate them.

As an introduction to the concept of booktrailers, watch the examples below with your class. Ask your students what makes each book trailer powerful/effective and/or less powerful/effective, and/or what they do and do not like about each.

Examples of professional book trailers

Love, Stargirl

The Book Thief




The Young Sherlock Holmes

Examples made by teachers

Naomi Bates is an expert in creating book trailers. She has examples of book trailers she has created on her Naomi Bates School Tube Channel.

Examples made by middle school students

Lansdowne School Tube Channel
The book trailers created for picture books were made by grade 6s and the book trailers created for novels were made by grade 7s and 8s.
For a few examples, see below.

How do you create a book trailer?

The next step discusses the process used to create a book trailer. I use this Prezi by Naomi Bates to show students what the steps are.

Naomi Bates Prezi on how to create a book trailer

Let's Get Started

Pre Planning

There are three pre planning stages that students must complete before they get to the computer part of the project. Spending the time pre planning and giving feedback at each stage makes for more powerful and/or successful book trailers.

thinking.jpg a) Think Card

The "Think Card" looks like a giant bookmark and is completed as students read or reread their book. The idea is to make a list of key words, emotions, character traits, places, symbols, themes, colours, atmosphere, and ending/message from the book. It is presumed that these concepts will have been taught prior to undertaking a booktrailer in order for the trailer to be more than a technology "gimmick".
Using a picture book as an example is a great way to demonstrate how to fill in the "Think Card".

b) Planning Template

Once the book has been read and the "Think Card" has been completed, it is time to move on to the planning template. The planning template helps students organize what they have recorded on their "Think Cards" into catagories that are part of a book trailer. As they are filling in their planning template, they should be thinking back to the trailers they analyzed. The planning template is where students start thinking about powerful words, sound effects/music, pacing, mood, story highlights, and images that they want to use for their book trailers. Again using a picture book to demonstrate how to complete the planning stage is useful.

c) Storyboard

The story board is the final stage before getting to the computers. This is where students plan out their book trailers slide by slide on paper, including the words and images they want to use. The following are "givens" that the students must include in their book trailers (see Lansdowne examples on Schooltube):
  • the first slide must be a hook- usually in the form of a question (eg. What would you do if you were given a second chance?.... not " my book is....")
  • use short phrases or words, and questions through out the book tailer
  • the last slide should be a question (eg. "will he survive or be eliminated like the rest?")
  • followed by a picture of the cover of the book and author's name
  • then the credits
  • students could add another picture of the book and the author's name at the very very end

Students had to hand in their story boards for feedback and to make sure all the "givens" were included, prior to beginning their trailers.

Now to the Computer Lab



The next step is collecting images that reflect the storyboard descriptions,... a very time consuming job.The images should help to explain and/or reinforce key content. However, before students collect the images, they need to understand copyright and copyright issues. I use the following blog post written by my colleague, Travis Richey, to help explain copyright.

Know Your Rights...and Copyrights

The Internet is more than simply a place to find information. It is a place to be creative and express yourself.
external image images.jpg

When we create, we use things we find around us. On the Internet, you will find words, pictures, music, and videos. Each of these are the creation of someone else. It's fun to combine the creations of someone else with our own to express new ideas. People do it everyday. It's how we communicate.

This blog is written by me, Mr. Richey, but I also use information, pictures, and videos from other websites to help me express my ideas. But I know that not everything on the Internet is there for the taking. Not everyone wants to share.

It is as important to respect each other on the Internet as it is in the "real world". Just I wouldn't steal from someone in my neighborhood, I shouldn't take what's not mine on the Internet without permission. When I create this blog, I try to use only things others are willing to share. That way I respect the right of others.

How do you know what you can use without abusing the rights of others? Check out Creative Commons.
It is an excellent place to search for information, images, sounds, or videos you are free to use in your own creations. It's just like searching Google, only everything you find can be shared. It's never been easier to do the right thing, have fun and be creative!

Here is a blog post about Creative Commons 14 Tools to Teach

Here is a link to

external image creative+commons+image.jpg Creative Commons

Students can also use one of the following websites to find images:
wikimedia.jpg Wiki Media Commons

morgue.jpg Morgue File

logo.png Everystock Photo

If you are using Windows Movie Maker (WMM), students need to save their images as jpeg files. I have students open a Word document to save the URL and/or names of the image creators. This way they have all the information they need to complete the credits for their book trailers. You could also use programs such as Animoto or iMovie to make book trailers.

Windows Movie Maker (WMM)

When all the images are collected they can be imported to WMM. This is the time when students add transitions, effects, titles, credits to their book trailer. Make sure you remind students to save save their work often.
See link to manual below for more information on how to use WMM.
WMM Manual

Then....tweak, tweak, tweak! (We found this to be one of the most important components - it equates to editing and proofreading.)


Adding the music is the last step.The music should clearly communicate the mood of the book without detracting from the images/graphics. Usually, best music to use with book trailers has no lyrics. The music is also subject to the same copyright laws as images are, so use the website listed below to find music that has been ok'd to share. The great thing about this website is that the students can search for music by mood (eg. relaxing, edgy, driving, etc..).

freeplay.jpgFree Play Music
Here is another music website students can use.

Then...tweak, tweak, tweak!


The rubric below is what is used for evaluating the finished book trailers. The students had time to do a self evaluation using the same rubric as well.

Teacher/Student Feedback

Here is what Kristy (classroom teacher) had to say about the process

The booktrailers were a project meant to enhance and build upon reading comprehension strategies and allow a student to demonstrate their understanding of those strategies, as well as help them engage in their learning in a way that includes the reality of their day to day life - technology. Creating the book trailers was a complex process that the students went through - a "Thinking Card", a template, and a storyboard were all completed before they even set foot in the technology lab. As well, many of the reading strategies the students learned the past two terms - particularly predicting, making connections, visualizing (images), inferring, questioning and most definitely summarizing - were utilized in the preparation of the trailers, from choosing the book and creating the storyboard, to choosing images that represented what they wanted to convey. The students are very familiar with the term "tweaking" - the last stage of the trailers after collecting their images and adding the words and music is essentially the editing and proofreading process that we challenge ourselves to use in all forms of writing.

I have never had so much fun assessing a project - Jane put the trailers on SchoolTube, the class and I popped the popcorn, put our feet up, and watched each other's trailers. I just happened to have my rubric on my lap! (Any that I wanted to review later, I was able to do in the comfort of my own home - the trailers are accessible from anywhere once they're on SchoolTube).

Here is what Jane (teacher librarian) had to say about the process
This was a very rewarding project to be involved with. As a teacher librarian, I loved the opportunity to cooperatively plan and teach with a classroom teacher. It was amazing to see the students transition from chosing the book to planning out the story board to creating the actual book trailers, and how proud the students were of the final products. The students' finished book trailers were a good reflection of their reading comprehension. As a teacher librarian, I was also pleased to get a chance to teach students about copyright and how to credit images and music in a meaningful way.

Here is what the students had to say about the process

Thank You

I want to send out a thank you to Lorraine Powell, a teacher librarian in the district, who got me started with book trailers and providing me with the Think Card, Planning Page and Story Board, and the name Naomi Bates. Also a thank Kristy Kilpatrick and her classes for being the guinea pigs, taking a risk and trying something new.

Jane Spies

Big thanks to Jane for letting us be the guinea pigs, providing us with the templates, and walking us through the technology aspects of the project. Thanks too to the students - who were the real guinea pigs - and to the rest of the NPBS and technology team. We all support each other as we venture further and further into the world of technology. For me, it's a new world, and Jane and the team are so encouraging

Kristy Kilpatrick