Re-Imagining the Book Report


Tired of assigning book reports? Me too. And guess what? So are our students! Spice things up by asking students to create a book trailer. Many of the same goals of a traditional book report can be accomplished in a book trailer. The difference is, this digital format is highly engaging work students WANT to do. Also, there are numerous benefits to doing this work. Here are four:

  • Re-energizing Reading Workshop – We’re several months into the school year now. Our reading workshop routines are in place and my students are looking for a new, fun challenge. Creating book trailers fits the bill and the excitement in the room is palpable. There’s a positive and productive buzz in the room as students focus with great intent on their creations. Of course laying some essential ground rules is key. Students are engaged in the process, and it’s so much fun to watch and listen in on genius at work!
  • Collaboration – We can tell our students to cooperate until we turn purple. But some lessons are best learned by experience. Students truly understand the meaning of collaboration as a result of creating a book trailer. They learn to negotiate power, to listen to ideas different from their own, and that creativity thrives in spaces that are nurturing and positive. Also, they experience the meaning of the Mayan proverb: Many hands make light work!
  • Rereading – Looking for authentic ways for students to revisit a text? Setting specific goals and requirements for their book trailers will help you to accomplish this. Remind students that movie trailers are created from a finished (or mostly finished) product. The creators of these trailers pull from this product to give a sample of detail about characters, setting, and theme that will persuade viewers. These are the literary elements students should think about as well when creating their book trailers. To do this well requires revisiting and rereading key parts of the book to powerfully, accurately , and persuasively portray these elements.
  • Excitement For Books– Looking to get students excited about reading a new book? Book trailers are created by students, for students, about books they love. What better way to get more books into the hands of students?

Worried about the Tech? Don’t be! There are several manageable, user-friendly options to choose from. In my next post, I’ll share some Trailer and Tech Tips for helping students make awesome book trailers!


Sonja Cherry-Paul has been an educator for the past 17 years. She is a middle school English teacher and co-author of Teaching Interpretation: Using Text-Based Evidence to Construct Meaning and Flip Your Writing Workshop: A Blended Learning Approach. Sonja is a Jane Addams Children’s Book Awards committee member who is committed to celebrating authors and illustrators who address issues related to social justice.


One thought on “Re-Imagining the Book Report

Please leave us a comment! We love the discussion!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s