The challenge: a Library Orientation for 8th graders that isn’t childish or boring, that provides guidance but not overt supervision, that rejuvenates their interest in visiting the library. When I discovered that the first 8g ELA project was a video book-talk, I knew that using cell phones to scan QR codes & view online video book trailers would captivate these students. And the teachers would appreciate my “sneak peak” to get students excited to create their own book trailers.
LESSON: BOOK TALK INTO BOOK TRAILER
First I show them how easy it is to make a book-talk as a video. In my browser I go to the copyright-free image site Pixabay and enter a search term, then choose an image and show them how to save it into their personal folder.
I explain that the essence of a good book trailer is to choose just a few really great images to highlight key scenes in the early part of the book’s story, images that will entice others to read the book. I show the images I’ve already saved for my book trailer, mentioning that using a combination of color and monochromatic images can create mood.
Next I show students Adobe Spark, an online app that allows them to upload images, enter text, choose music, then create a video slideshow. (It’s free, but you need to sign up. There are others that are also good for educational use, like Kizoa, Stupeflix, and WeVideo.) I quickly show them how to upload an image, add some engaging text to promote the book, and choose some appropriate music provided within the app; then I show my 51-second book trailer example video. (But don’t expect to find this book—it’s an imaginary one I may someday find time to write!)
BOOK TRAILERS TO PROMOTE READING
I tell students their next activity is using their smartphones to scan QR codes & view book trailers. These book trailers can help them choose a good book to check out, and it gives them an opportunity to see examples of what they might do. 8th graders are ecstatic to use their smartphones right at the start of the school year for a legitimate school activity, and I quickly show them how to get a QR reader for their iPhone or Android device if they don’t already have it. I ask them to partner with others at their table who don’t have a smartphone, then I let them loose to scan the strips of paper on their tables that have sets of QR codes. The next 15 minutes is a joy to behold!
Many students choose to check out one of the featured books, so I switch out the QR strips during the day to feature different books for students to check out. Regardless of which book each student checks out, they’re already talking about how they’ll make their own book trailer. I call that a successful orientation.
WHERE TO FIND BOOK TRAILERS
Several websites offer book trailers, and over the years I’ve accumulated a list of URLs to turn into QR codes. To get you interested in creating book trailers with your students, view some from the sites listed below to see how easy it is to create one.
booktrailers4all – the original! Some are older, but still the best for showing how to use PPT or Google slides to create a video booktalk.
Jill Slapnik – she has 514 videos in various playlists.
Scholastic – many book trailers and video booktalks!
Amanda Kordeliski – a HS librarian with 21 trailers.
Do let me know in the comments if you have found some other good booktalk or booktrailer sites.