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Get Students Excited About Reading

It is important to get students excited about reading. Learn how student-created unboxing videos can be a great addition to your ELA program.

It is important to get students excited about reading. One way to build their excitement is to have them create unboxing videos.

Have you ever watched an unboxing video? 

You know, those videos where someone opens a package on camera.

And that’s it. That’s the video. 

Though it may seem like an odd trend at first, there are several simple reasons why these videos have become so popular. Viewers get to live vicariously through the people doing the unboxing, the packaging is usually beautiful or fun, and the anticipation of what’s to come is exciting to watch! 

Influencers often post unboxing videos for businesses in exchange for free or discounted products. The influencer receives cool stuff, and the business sending the package gets inexpensive yet effective advertising. 

A fundamental part of YouTube culture in recent years, unboxing videos are a type of media that your students will recognize and get excited about. 

Asking students to create their own Book Unboxing videos as an assignment can be an amazing way to drive reading engagement in your classroom, help students discover new books, and create a community of enthusiastic readers. And it can get students excited about reading! 

In this assignment, students record themselves “unboxing” 3-5 books they’ve read in the past year. Their goal is to “sell” the books to their audience (e.g. persuade their classmates to try reading these books) as if they are influencers. It’s fun; it gets students thinking deeply, it will get students excited about reading, and it allows you to assess reading, writing, and oral (speaking and listening) standards all at the same time.

Get Students Excited About Reading

Here’s a step-by-step guide to getting you started with this fun lesson idea to get students excited about reading:

Choose a Video Recording Platform

The first thing you’ll want to be clear on is which video recording platform you want students to use for filming their unboxing. 

Flipgrid is a great choice because you can then activate each video and create a mixtape of all the videos for other students to view, either at their leisure or during a whole-class viewing. The platform is also secure in that users must have a code to access the topic you’ve assigned. 

It may also be workable for students to simply record the video on their phone and then upload that directly to your LMS/online classroom (e.g., Google Classroom or Microsoft Teams).

Introduce the concept of “unboxing videos” to your class 

Start by showing a few example videos in class (If you’re stuck finding sample videos, this resource contains links to a few great ones!), then give a mini-lesson on persuasion/selling techniques that influencers use in unboxing videos. 

Be sure to point out to students that influencers also use oral presentation skills such as looking at the viewer (camera), speaking clearly and loudly, using facial expressions and body language to keep the viewer engaged, etc.

Have students choose their books and plan their script

Give students some time to narrow down their choice of books to recommend (or “unbox”) and then write their script – what they’ll say in their video to persuade other students to read the books they chose. 

Creating a script is where the writing standards come in! 

The best part about this assignment is that it’s not just you as the teacher trying to get students excited about reading. Using their persuasive writing and speaking skills, the students will be pitching their favourite books to each other. They’ll each have a chance to help their classmates discover new, high-interest texts that they genuinely want to read.

Students create the “packaging” and film their videos

After students have had enough time to gather their books and plan out their scripts, they will each need to find some sort of a box (shoebox, Amazon box, etc. will work – as long as 3-5 books can fit inside while closed) and packing materials. 

They can decorate their box and be creative with packing materials if they have the time – this can be a great way to let students’ creativity shine and get students excited about reading! 

Next, students package up their boxes and film their videos.

Decide How the Class Will View the Videos

Reflecting on their own reading choices and why they love their favourite books will do a lot to get students excited about reading. But listening to the recommendations from their classmates is the important final stage of this project that can really motivate your students to pick up a new book and get students excited about reading!

Depending on your classroom setup, there are a few ways you could decide to have students view each other’s videos:

  1. If you’re teaching in person, in a physical classroom, you could have a couple of class periods dedicated to an unboxing viewing, where you show all the videos at once. If you decide to do this, you can also have students practice their listening skills and give feedback to each student on their presentation and persuasion techniques. 
  2. Or, you could use the videos for book talks – one video a day or one video every Friday. 
  3. If you’re teaching remotely or through a digital classroom only, then you may choose to assign one video to watch per week or feature one video per day if you post daily updates on your LMS feed.
  4. Another option is to simply have the videos accessible all the time so that students can watch them at their leisure. 

Middle-school-aged children may not always be excited to discuss books with one another, but this assignment can be a big step toward creating a book-loving culture in your classroom. 

Based on the recommendations of peers, some students may even branch out and try new types of books that they otherwise wouldn’t. 

And you can refer back to these videos all year. When a student is having a hard time finding a book, direct them to watch an unboxing video or two to get ideas on what to read. 

Try This Book Unboxing Assignment

To save you on prep time, and make this assignment super easy to use in your classroom, pick up my ready-to-use Unboxing Assignment! This will get students excited about reading. Find this resource on Shopify CAD or Teachers Pay Teachers USD.

Lesson Outline

  1. What is unboxing? Modelled, Shared, and Independent Lessons
  2. Book Unboxing Assignment
  3. Book Unboxing Assignment presentations

Resource Includes

  • Teacher lesson plan
  • Student assignment sheet
  • Graphic organizers
  • Curriculum alignment Ontario Curriculum and Common Core

Teacher Feedback

  1. I’m in Canada, but it worked well with our curriculum as well (Oral Language, Media Literacy, etc.) and the students loved it. The resource is super organized and thorough – I didn’t have to do much tweaking (except for the Standards/Expectations). We also had a great discussion around cyberbullying and leaving positive comments and helpful suggestions (without being hurtful). It’s so relevant for students and they had fun with it!”
  2. “Another great resource from Two Peas and a Dog. Currently using this as a replacement for our monthly book review. Students are enjoying it very much – engaging for distance learning.”
  3. “Great resource. Engaging activity.”

You can find the Book Unboxing Assignment on Teachers Pay Teachers USD and Shopify CAD.

Get students excited about reading using this unboxing video strategy.

Have you ever used graphic organizers in class to help students organize what they read? This collection of 6 different Reading Strategy Graphic Organizers will help students engage, connect and think critically about their reading and continue to get students excited about reading. You can find them on Teachers Pay Teachers USD and Shopify CAD.

More Fun Resources That Get Students Excited About Reading


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