VILONIA — Seventh-graders at Vilonia Middle Schoolhave created mini movies, and they are showing them to adults in the hopes of luring them into reading books.
Students in the seventh grade Pre-AP Language Arts classes recetly hosted a Coffeehouse with food, drinks and original "book trailers," produced similar to ones shown in theaters promoting upcoming movies.
Seventh-grade teacher Linda Knapp referred to the evening as a "literacy night for the community."
"Your children are enjoying what they are reading," Knapp told an audience of about 200 Tuesday night. "They want you to read their books. Some of them are a little mature, but they are enjoying what they are reading, and they think you will enjoy it also."
Prior to showing each mini movie, students, generally in pairs, stood before the audience and presented a brief book overview as well as set the stage for the presentation. Each trailer, set to music, showcased book scenes, suspense and excitement.
Titles included SOLD about a 13-year-old girl sold into sexual slavery; The Hunger Games about death and alliances; Cirque du Freak written to "gross out horror fans," and Hoofbeats, about an orphan and a Mustang. Others reviewed included A Cry in the Night "a great mystery" about a search for a baby and Crank, a realistic fiction detailing a young girl hooked on crystal meth as well as Everest, where only three made it back down after climbing the world’s tallest mountain.
Other books in the mix were New Moon, Eldest, Skeleton Key, Swindle, Lightning Thief, The Clique, Thr3e, Castle Corona, Hatchet, The Lost Queen, Tuck Everlasting, Uglies and Maximum Ride.
The audience responded particularly favorable to the mini-trailer of A Child Called It. Presented by a shy Megan Peterson, the book is an autobiography of the author Dave Pelzer’s own experiences. Peterson said she has read the book five times. Addressing the audience, she said, "I recommend this to a lot of adults. And, to the kids, you should ask your parents to read it first. The language is pretty strong. And, it is the saddest book I’ve ever read."
Librarian and media specialist Terina Atkins, who co-sponsored the event and assisted the children with the technology aspects, told the audience that Peterson’s trailer "has particularly blown everyone away." She also complimented all of the other students on their presentations.
"I showed them what to push, play, drop and drag, but they did the rest," Atkins said.
Five productions, Atkins said, from the Coffeehouse presentation have been chosen to be entered in the Arkansas Association of Instructional Media (AAIM) Student Media Festival on April 17, including Lightning Thief presented by Zach Rail and Daniel McKnight; Crank by Brick Cullum and Elizabeth Poindexter; Maximum Ride by Caitlyn Hallett and Malynn McKay; Sold by Nikki Brooks and Kaylee Denmark and A Child Called It by Peterson.