Student Activity #4: Digital Book Trailers

Objective: Work with a full class of students to create digital book trailers in Animoto based on a favorite book that they have read.

Background: Digital book trailers are short videos that promote a book. Their purpose is the motivate others to read the book, as well. There are various ways to create book trailers using various technologies. Book trailers are short (think PSAs) and can be compared to film trailers that you see at the movies. Some trailers include voice-overs and music. Animoto is a simple way to create professional-quality videos. They use uploaded images and videoclips and set them to music, creating a video that is paced to the beat of the music.

Teacher-Librarian Activity: Create an Animoto digital book trailer video during our meeting on May 3rd to motivate others to read a book that you recommend. Embed the video in your new library wiki.

Example (short):

Example (longer)

Educational benefits: Book trailers cause the creator to consider the main ideas and plot of a book. Trailers that include narration reinforce the writing process. Animoto book trailers can be used in conjunction with a writing assignment and are a departure from the typical "book report". They are a basis for technology integration and motivate other students to read recreationally. If custom artwork is included, they foster advanced creativity.

  1. Caution students not to create "spoilers" or give away the ending of the book.
  2. Teach them how to create suspense and "sell" the book to their classmates.
  3. Help them to identify the high points of the book.
  4. Advise students to adhere to the CPS Acceptable Use Policy.
  5. Guide students to follow image licensing and to cite their references.

Student Activity:
  1. Create accounts in Animoto. You can create an educator account at Request your educator "All-Access" pass and watch for Animoto to approve it. Read for information on how to set up student accounts.
  2. Have students select books for which they would like to create digital book trailers. Show them some examples of book trailers in Animoto. Talk about the purpose of these book trailers, how to highlight main points of the book, avoiding "spoilers", building suspense, and motivating others to read the book.
  3. Talk about images that might convey high points of their book and entice others to read the book. Discuss Creative Commons licensing, the importance of having permission to use an image, and how to cite sources used in a book trailer. Instruct them to build a list of image URLs used in their book trailers by copying the URLs of the images.
  4. Next, have students use the Creative Commons search in Flickr to locate images that they can use in their book trailers. About 10 - 15 images should be sufficient. They can also use the Google image search for other images that they may need.
  5. Have students create a citation page in PowerPoint with links to the URLs they used for the assignment and save it as a jpeg.
  6. In building their Animoto, have the students upload their images and citation page, sort them, delete ones they decide not to use, spotlight certain images, and duplicate ones to be especially emphasized, Have them insert key text at various points.
  7. Next, they can select music from the Animoto collection (or add their own copyright-appropriate) music.
  8. They can click the "Finalize" button, when finished, and Animoto will begin to render their video.
  9. Finally, have them share the code or link to their video by clicking the Video Toolbox button at their bottom of their video page. Put a list of all the videos at a book trailer page in your new library wiki

Animoto for Education FAQ:
Account information:

Examples of book trailers in Animoto:

Other Uses: Animoto can also be used in other curricular areas. Use it to support the writing process, to share research findings, to enhance collaboration, and for assessment purposes. Examples of other uses include highlighting a particular geographic region, a time period in history, to showcase artwork, to showcase controversial issues, to share community and current events, or to let students tell about themselves.