where all things literacy come full circle…

Sit Back and Relax…

I LOVE book trailers.

I have been sold in the idea of promoting a book through a visual medium. Many publishers are creating book trailers to promote the books that they publish. I hope that they continue to make these and that teachers, librarians, and parents continue to use them.

They work!

I have been able to introduce book trailers to teachers and my librarian in my school building and to colleagues throughout the district and state.

As a teacher, I saw success in using them.

Stampede for Wonder

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

I bought another copy of the book for my classroom. I then showed the book trailer, which is awesome, to my class and shared the video of the author reading a chapter out loud. I then held the book up and told the class that I LOVE this book. I told them it is probably one of my favorites of all time. I made a sign-up sheet and placed it on the whiteboard. I asked the class who would want to read this book? All hands shot up instantly! I told the class that they can sign up after lunch. There were a lot of moaning and groaning going on. Before the lunch recess bell rang, I had a line at my door. Once I let them in, there was a literal stampede at the sign-up sheet. One parent couldn’t understand what the kids were doing at the whiteboard. I told her that it was for a book. She couldn’t believe it. I had 17 names on the sign-up sheet (out of 27 kids).

The Unwanteds to Wanted…

The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann

The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann

The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann was a Beehive nominee last year. Kids from third through fifth grades read this book along with other nominees. One fourth grade teacher asked me about book trailers and how she could use them in her classroom. I told her that they are a huge motivator for reading a book…and a BIG hook. She asked if I could come in and introduce book trailers to her classroom. I said sure.

I knew that I was going to show The Unwanteds trailer so I brought my copy of the book to share. I knew after viewing the trailer they would WANT to read it.

I did a little experiment.

I held the book up and did a little book talk. I tried to do my best. After I book talked the book, I asked for a show of hands who would want to read it. Only 2 hands went up. I almost felt like a failure.

I then showed the book trailer. The kids were captivated…

Afterwards, I asked by a show of hands, who would like to read it. All but 2 hands went up. The book trailer not only hooked them, but became a huge motivator in reading the book.

The One and Only Book Trailer…

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

This book trailer captivated me. The music. The captions. The artwork. The drama. The panning. It’s almost perfect. This is the book trailer that I show not only to students in classrooms (because I have been a huge fan of this book) but to teachers to show how awesome book trailers are.

When I taught fifth grade, I didn’t have the book yet, but I decided to show the book trailer. I really wanted to see who would want to read it before I bought it for my class. I knew that I wanted to read it by watching the trailer but didn’t know if the trailer would sell the book to my students.

I showed the trailer to my class. They were hooked. I ended up buying two copies that night (one for me and one for my class). I had one student go out and buy the book. This is a huge investment for a fifth grader to go and buy a hardcover book. I will tell more about this experience in another post.

Tips for Book Trailers

I am a firm believer that if you are going to get kids excited about a book then they need to have access to that book. Only show book trailers IF you have the book or are going to buy the book for your class.

Most, if not all, book trailers are found on YouTube. Go to and type in the search bar the title of the book and add “book trailer” behind the title. Always preview the trailer first to make sure it’s the one you want to show. Some trailers are of higher quality than others.

This is a way to hook kids to reading a book. I think like all great things, they can lose their luster and novelty if used to the extreme. I would show 1-2 a week (and this may be pushing it). As a teacher, I want to keep the novelty of strategies that I use and if you use it often, it often goes by the wayside.

If you don’t see a book trailer for a book, google the book’s title and publisher. The trailer may be on the publisher’s site. I do know that many authors offer the trailer on their own author website. Don’t get discouraged if it isn’t on YouTube, search for other sites that the trailers may be hosted on.

Final Question…

How do you use book trailers in your classroom?



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4 thoughts on “Sit Back and Relax…

  1. This year, I started “Books and Bites” with my 8th graders. We spent the whole class period viewing trailers while enjoying snacks. Students have their notebooks open to their “To Read” lists and add titles which catch their interest. Very successful! I plan to do this once a marking period. Next one will be the day after we return from winter break.

  2. Yes, I’ve used them, but not nearly enough (partially, it has to do with access to computers) but I love the legacy of students creating these — passing down recommendations from year to year. That is powerful.

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