Home » Blog » Advertising and Media #2: Book Trailers as a Form of Advertising

Advertising and Media #2: Book Trailers as a Form of Advertising

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Lesson Overview: 

In this lesson, students learn about trailers as a form of advertising.  Using what they learned last week about how advertisements are made, students “deconstruct” four book trailers.

Lesson Plan:

Suggested Grades:



To introduce students to the concept of Book Trailers as a way to advertise books.  (AASL 1.1.6, “Read, view, and listen for information presented in any format . . . in order to make inferences and gather meaning.”)

Suggested Time:

45-50 minutes

Success Criteria:

Each student will understand what a book trailer is (form), why they are made (purpose), and how they work (function).

Lesson Outline:

1. Introduction:

Introduce the idea of a “trailer” to preview coming material/attractions/events.  Book trailers introduce prospective readers to books without giving too much information and without disclosing the ending.

Ask the students to provide general characteristics of movie trailers.  They should be able to do this using what they already know.  Trailers are:

  1. Short
  2. Show highlights
  3. Introduce basic elements of character and plot
  4. Designed to build excitement, tension
  5. Never reveal the ending
  6. Purpose – get audience to watch the movie

Book trailers are usually similar videos, but their purpose is to entice the audience to purchase and read a book.

2. Main:

Show three to six book trailers.  I have provided some suggestions in the “Resources” section below.  Ask students key questions about the trailers such as:

  • What are the elements of this trailer (images, music, sound effects, interviews, still photos, narratives, etc.)?
  • Is the trailer convincing?  Does it make you want to read the book?  Why or why not?

3. Conclusions:

Trailers can be extremely convincing and very fun to watch!  Next, we’ll be learning to make our own trailers.

  1. Student Handout (attached)
  2. Book Trailer Links:

Use the following book trailers, or find trailers of your own that are appropriate:

  1. Dinosaur Cove Series by Rex Stone. (Single narrator, music, one sound effect, still photos only, most in black and white.)  http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/asset/dinosaur-cove-attack-tyrannosaurus-book-trailer
  2. Babymouse Series by Jennifer and Matt Holm. (No narration, only music.  Limited palette to match the look/feel of the books.  Basic character introduction.  Trailer looks like a comic.  Very short.)  http://www.randomhousekids.com/videos/lpwcnsuyfom-babymouse-book-trailer
  3. Swindle by Gordon Korman. (Single narrator who is the author.  Extensive explanation of characters and plot.  Still photos as well as video.  Sound effects.    Computer graphics.  Relatively long.)  http://www.scholastic.com/teacher/videos/teacher-videos.htm – 3193873250001/1562781814
  4. Taking Flight by Michaela and Elaine De Prince. (Double narrators, music, video only.  No still photos – why?  Very emotional.)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfh2AtBhZDM  Note:  This is a trailer for a work of nonfiction, a memoir.  The children are very young to encounter this kind of a story.  Watch the trailer beforehand so that you can explain the medical condition of vitiligo and prepare them for some of the desperate conditions Michaela De Prince mentions. 

Students typically love this lesson.  I consistently have kids asking to read some of the books for which I show them the trailers!  Be sure that you only show trailers for books that you have in your library, or else you will have some disappointed students.

Publishers often produce many trailers.

See how many more excellent trailers you can find.

Recommended books for this lesson:


Key Terms:

Advertising, Ads, Trailers, Book Trailers, Media

Student Handout, Book Trailers