Classroom Practice

5 Ways to Pair Video and Reading in the Classroom

Written by Jessica Sanders

This is a guest post from Learn2Earn. An online fundraising platform that allows students to raise money by reading books.

Video makes the classroom more interactive, and gives students a chance to experience learning with a new and familiar medium. Educational videos can be a valuable resource in many areas of instructions, including reading, giving students a chance to explore novel themes or characters in a non-traditional manner.

Use these tips and ideas to make video an effective tool for reading instruction in your classroom.

3 Quick Video Tips

The online world is a useful resource for you and your students, but that doesn’t mean they should use it at their discretion. Use these three tips to ensure your students are being safe and aware when sourcing videos online:

  • Never allow your students to search video sites like Youtube without supervision and explicit instructions.

 

  • Always approve videos before allowing students to watch them.

 

  • Keep a list of approved channels on desks or next to the computer area, for easy student access.

With these rules in mind you can make the most of YouTube for reading instruction. Here are five ways to make this tool effective in the classroom.

Video Book Reports

Written book reports are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Teachers are finding new and fun ways for students to show what they’ve learned with technology, including student-made videos.

Give students the opportunity to create their book reports in the form of a video, and share the finished product on your class blog. Students can also share this with friends and family via email and social media.

Using YouTube for book reports provides students with an authentic audience, which improves student accountability.

When they can easily share their project with people other than their teacher, they have more incentive to make it their best work.

Record and Publish Student Reading

Reading out loud helps students strengthen their comprehension, develop critical reading skills, build confidence, and more.

Recording their reading and playing it back for them makes reading out loud a more educational opportunity. For example, this can teach them what reading fluency sounds like.

“At the beginning of the year, my students thought that fast reading was fluent reading, but I was hoping was to inspire my students to think beyond this. Fast reading does not equal fluent reading. If students read 140 words per minute but use no expression and sound like robots, they are not reading fluently,” said Kayla Delzer, a 2nd grade teacher, who used a simple recording app to show her students what fluency sounds like.

show them improvements in how they read the text, express emotions, gather words together, and make the story fun to listen to.

Exploratory Searches

Create a playlist of videos that help students better understand the text they’re currently reading and organize them into various categories. For example, three categories could be overarching topics, characters and plot themes.

Have students choose their favorite video from each section, and write about why they liked it and how it relates to the text. You can create a rubric for students outlining the information they need to glean from the videos, the connections they need to make with the text, and how they’ll show what they know.

Discussion Starters

Start your class discussion of a book with a fun, interesting and attention-grabbing video related to that topic. This will spark students’ creativity and excitement, making for a more lively discussion. This is a great idea for Monday mornings, when students are still sleepy from the weekend.

Real-Life Connections

Some of the oldest, most classic texts read in school still relate to the lives we lead today. For example, the themes of destructive love and coming of age in Jane Eyre are relevant to, and can be understood by, your 21st century students.

Use YouTube to help students connect these timeless themes with popular or viral videos they watch and share with friends. For example, use Nike’s “Risk Everything” video to exemplify the themes of determination in Charlotte’s Web.

YouTube is a valuable classroom tool for reading instruction—you can use it to publish student videos, connect learning to real life, and get students excited about the most classic pieces of literature. Inspire your students to love reading as much as you do with this popular, and free classroom tool.


Jessica Sanders grew up reading books like The Giver and Holes, and is passionate about making reading as exciting for young kids today as it has always been for her. Follow Learn2Earn on Twitter and Facebook, and send content inquiries to social@learn2earn.org.

About the author

Jessica Sanders

Jessica Sanders is the Director of Social Outreach for Whooo’s Reading, a San Diego-based education organization that motivates students to read more every day. It’s available to teachers, schools and districts. Jessica grew up reading books like The Giver and Holes, and is passionate about making reading as exciting for young kids today as it has always been for her. Follow Learn2Earn on Twitter and Facebook, and check out their new ebook, How to Bring Technology Into the Classroom, just $2.99 on Amazon.com.

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