Commercial Ideas for a Book in the Classroom
A commercial or advertisement is one way teachers get students to give oral book reports. A good book commercial in the classroom will both show your teacher that you have read and understood the book at hand, and encourage other students to read it. Book commercials should be entertaining and informative. Get top marks for your book commercial by making use of one of a variety of different formats.
Make your book commercial into a movie preview. Get a few classmates to act out a few key scenes while you provide narration. Use some of the conventions of movie trailers. If your book is "Huckleberry Finn," for instance, start by saying something cheesy in a deep and dramatic voice, such as "In a world where slavery still exists, one boy has the chance to change things forever." Intersperse these sorts of lines with short and poignant scenes and dialogue. End with a typical trailer ending, such as "Don't miss the exciting summer blockbuster, Huck Finn, now playing in libraries everywhere. Rated PG-13."
Make your book commercial into a late-night-style infomercial. You might begin with an overly phony interview. Ask a member of the "audience," who is clearly in on the joke, to come to the front of the class. Write a script like the following:
Host: "What's missing in your life?"
Volunteer: "I just can't find a good book to read."
Host: "What if I told you that there's a book out there that has action, adventure, romance AND an important message?"
Volunteer: "I'd say you were lying."
Host: "Well, I'm not. That book is Huckleberry Finn."
Proceed in this way, and offer to throw in all kinds of useless gadgets as a bonus for ordering the book now.
Write a scripted commercial that offers to solve a problem for the public. Ask classmates to help you act it out. You might begin with someone acting bored around the house. Have him staring out a window, turning the TV on and off or anything else. Have the voice-over ask, "Are you bored with your life? Is it difficult for you to find anything fun to do? Then try reading Huckleberry Finn, the new novel by Mark Twain. The story of Huck and Jim will keep you entertained for hours on end." Have the actor sit in a chair reading with an amazed expression on his face.
Interview with the "Author"
A less conventional way to advertise a book is to have the author interviewed on a stage. Play the author and ask a classmate to ask you a series of questions about the book. Pretend to be Mark Twain (a white mustache would be appropriate). Have the host ask you why you wrote the book and why people should buy and read it. You might make it funny by telling your audience how poor you are and how you need people to buy it to pay the bills.
David Coodin began working as a writer in 2005, and has been published in "The Walrus." He contributes to various websites, writing primarily in the areas of education and art. Coodin holds a Ph.D. in English literature from York University in Toronto.