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Advertising and Media #3: Making a Book Trailer

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Lesson Overview:

Building on what they learned last week about trailers, the students will make their own book trailers.  A fair bit of preparation is required to pull this off, but it’s a great integration of technology in the library, and the kids have a fabulous product to show their learning.

Lesson Plan:

Suggested Grades:



To create an original book trailer that can be used to promote reading for pleasure.

Suggested Time:

50-60 minutes

Success Criteria:

Each group of two or three students will create an original book trailer.  The trailers will be shown to their peers in a “Book Trailer Premiere” event once they are complete.

Lesson Outline:

1. Introduction:

It’s hard to believe, but, in one period, you will make your own book trailer.  You’ll be working in small groups.  Please remember what you have learned about trailers.  (Review characteristics of trailers: They are very short, give a glimpse into the subject, build interest or excitement, and do not give away the ending.)   You will also be using an app called “Animoto.”  Follow the instructions on the handout very carefully and ask for help if you get stuck.  The general steps are:

  1. Choose a genre, series, or book to highlight.
  2. Take seven to ten photos that will represent your subject.
  3. Go to the Animoto app on your device, or to animoto.com on a computer.
  4. Create a new project.
  5. Upload your photos.
  6. Choose a style.
  7. Choose the music.
  8. Add text slides including your names at the end.
  9. Edit as needed.
  10. Preview then publish!

2. Main:

Distribute the student handouts.  Show kids the devices as well as the app.  Make sure that you have updated the log-in instructions to reflect the account(s) you have set up for your school.  Assign the students to small groups, two but no more than three.  Let them get to work.  Advise the students to keep the book/series/genre they are advertising very simple!!  The lesson here is the process of making a trailer, not the selection of a subject!

I also advise that you have a second teacher or teaching assistant on hand to troubleshoot devices and problems.  This is a “learn by doing” lesson, and the kids will need some hands-on help.

Keep a close eye on the picture taking effort.  Some kids will go crazy and want to take lots and lots of pictures.  I have since upgraded to a professional Animoto account, but the last time I used a free account, the videos were limited to 30 seconds.  Therefore, there really is no point in having more than 10 pictures because the video will be cut off at 30 seconds.

3. Conclusion:

Ask the students to share a “Preview” version of their video with another group.  Those groups that finished should send you a link.  Everyone else can continue editing next week (if necessary).  Tell the kids that, once every group has submitted a finished trailer, you’ll have a “Trailer Premiere” day and watch all the videos.

  1. Ability to take and transfer digital photos, about ten per group.
  2. Access to Animoto software.
  3. Student handout for Making a Book Trailer (attached).
  4. Access to the library collection.
  1. I have written this lesson for one period, but it may take two periods if you run into technology glitches or if the students are not used to using the devices/apps. I strongly advise that you make a trailer first so that you have something to show the kids as a sample.
  2. You can preview a sample student book trailer here. Be careful!  These kids chose to highlight the horror genre:  https://animoto.com/play/X6uThJSghR2Hok4JHkOEbQ
  3. Before the lesson, apply for a free Animoto account for educators. You can do that here:  https://animoto.com/education/classroom  All projects have to be created within an account, so be sure to get this set up well in advance of the lesson.
  4. There are certainly other simple photo-to-movie apps available. I also like to use Adobe Spark if you want the students to be able to record their voices.  Please pick the app that works the best for you, but be sure that the students have a chance to make their own trailers.  They will do a great job!  One year the kids were so enthusiastic that they formed an after-school Animoto Club so that they could keep making videos!
Recommended books for this lesson:


Key Terms:

Book Trailers, Animoto, Advertising, Ads, Media, Video Production

Student Handout, Animoto Trailer Making FUN!