Note: This is a guest post from Barbara DeSantis, a K-12 Technology Integration Educator from Sayreville, NJ.


Looking for a creative alternative to book reports?  How about a way to help students find books they’ll love at your school’s library?

Have your students use Animoto to create a book trailer!  To enhance the final product, link your finished Animoto videos to the books in your classroom or school library via QR codes.

The school librarian and I worked with middle school students to create book trailers. Here is an example of a trailer that a some students came up with:

Final copy AF+DB

Here are the steps we took, plus suggestions from my own experience to ensure your project is a success:

1. Set the stage

Share pre-made book trailers with your students.  You can find samples on YouTube and many publisher websites.  After viewing several, we had the students identify key features.  They decided it was important to show the main characters and some of the conflicts- but not to give away the ending. We agreed their product should be a teaser to encourage people to read the book.

2. Collect images and craft text

While some students used a formal storyboard, others used an outline to develop the script.  As they collected images, they saved the URLs for the credits.  These credits were copied to a PowerPoint slide and saved as a JPEG.  It was then added to the end of the Animoto video.

The teacher served as the executive producer and reviewed the script before the students started using Animoto.  Some students were frustrated when they could not find images from their books.  We helped them to move away from the literal and to use more conceptual images.  Depending on the age of the students, you might want to provide some images possibilities in a file or a Google album.

3. Create the video

Some students worked in pairs (they had read the same book), while others worked alone to produce their videos. As students finished, we had them swap projects and serve as copy editors.  This was especially helpful in detecting spelling errors.

4. Hold an awards ceremony

When the book trailers were completed, the class viewed all the work and voted for awards in several categories (ex. best script, best photography, most persuasive, best overall video).  Not only did this provide recognition, but it also encouraged students to take notes as they viewed all the class projects.  After each video, I asked for constructive comments from the group.  This provided immediate feedback for the students.  The teacher also used this time to grade the projects.

5.Create QR codes

Here is a chance to extend the life of the Animoto videos.  Once they were completed, we linked them to the physical books with a QR code.  These updated square codes can be scanned by smartphones, tablets, or even a webcam,which is what we use in the library.  There are many sites that let you create these codes for free. My favorite is delivr.  Once you create the code, attach a copy to the back of the book.  Students can then scan the book, view the Animoto video, and decide if this is the book for them!  You can also share the QRs with the students to allow their families to view their work at home.


As a Technology Integration Educator, Barbara DeSantis helps Sayreville Public Schools students and teachers incorporate technology into their classrooms. Barbara is a STAR Discovery Educator, and she has won Discovery Education recognition for her blog, on which she showcases technology and student work.