Inspired technology, inspired readers: how book trailers foster a passion for reading

Students need the ability to comprehend substantial and complex texts, including novels and biographies. In 2010 a group of year 9 boys at Brisbane Grammar School participated in an action research project, a school library initiative, in which they designed and created multimodal book trailers. The initiative arose after library staff observed that reading for enjoyment declined between the middle and senior years and that many boys were reluctant to discuss reading books for interest with either librarians or teachers. It built on research indicating that boys’ commitment to reading may be improved by integrating it more deeply into the curriculum, thus validating it; by connecting reading to an activity that boys enjoy; and by integrating reading with the use of technology. In particular it built on work by Gunter and Kenny on the construction of book trailers as a device to encourage reading and critical reflection on books. The participants were taken from two mixed-ability classes. After selecting a book for leisure reading, they studied the main features of a book trailer, and undertook lessons and tutorials designed to develop their literacy and their visual and technological skills. This work included an analysis activity in which they considered the construction of their novel’s story. The essential structure of the trailer was predetermined, and the participants were required to meet deadlines for completing novel analysis sheets, storyboards and first drafts. Within these broad limits the boys had a great deal of scope to decide the final product. Evidence to evaluate the initiative was obtained from an initial survey that profiled the leisure reading of each boy, and from interviews with each boy, from their journal entries, and from video-conference with the boys during the construction of the trailers. Results so far show that most of the 60 participants improved their English grades during the course of the year. A further stage of the research will examine the extent to which the intervention has changed participants' leisure reading habits.

The full article by Michelle Ragen was in Access, March 2012; pages 8-13.

This abstract was published in Curriculum Leadership Journal Volume 10 Issue 5 30 March 2012.

Curriculum Leadership is a free web journal published fortnightly at
An email alert,102.html is available.

Reprinted here with permission.