Making Videos in the Reading Class

This week we look at ways of using videos in the English language class and showcase a video-making project based on Helbling Readers and Young Readers.

Videos are great resources as they provide a multi-sensory experience, while setting the context and characters and providing real examples of language usage in authentic situations. Here are some creative activities and fun games you can use with existing videos:

  • dubbing,
  • audio on/off or audio off,
  • split viewing,
  • observation,
  • watch to retell,
  • pause and say what’s going to happen next.

Video-making projects

Another exciting starting point for activities and projects is video making. Most of our students have smart phones and good quality cameras which make video-based projects easy to set up. Students will find video making  fun aand memorable, and it is suitable for individual projects as well as groups.

We would like to inspire you with real, student-made videos from Colombia which are based on Helbling Young Readers and Red and Blue Readers. These videos were made by young learners – with their teachers’ help and guidance – and teen learners. The task was to read a story and then either interpret it or reflect on it in a three-minute video. Here is a selection of some of winning videos. The Helbling Reader Video Contest was organized by Books & Books in Bogotá, Colombia.

We would like to thank all the students and their teachers for their hard work  and am sure that their work will  inspire other teachers and students all over the world.


The first prize winners are the students of Colegio Santa Ana in Bucaramanga, Colombia. They interpreted the The Oval Portrait by Edgar Allan Poe.

The second prize winners are the students Colegio El Triángulo in Medellín, Colombia. They interpreted The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.

The students of Colegio Sagrados Corazones De Mosquera in Mosquera, Colombia received a special mention. They interpreted The Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe.


The first prize winners are the students of Colegio De La Inmaculada, Medellín, Colombia. They interpreted the Helbling Young Reader Food for the Winter written by Rick Sampedro and illustrated by Estella Guarrera.

The second prize winners are the students Colegio Sagrados Corazones De Mosquera in Mosquera, Colombia. They also interpreted the Helbling Young Reader Food for the Winter written by Rick Sampedro and illustrated by Estella Guarrera.

The students of Colegio de la Immaculada in Medellín, Colombia received a special mention. They interpreted the Helbling Young Reader The Sun is Broken written by Andrés Pi Andreu and illustrated by Catty Flores.

Tips for making videos based on readers

All these videos were made in teams so we will focus on video making as team work.

1 Work as a team.

Every member of the team should have a role. Have a meeting, decide on the roles and write down the production schedule. Here are some roles and responsibilities.

  • director
  • actors
  • editors
  • lights
  • costumes
  • script
  • history/story/culture expert
  • sound and image quality
  • pronunciation/intonation

2 Choose the story and decide the scene and schedule together.

First you need to decide which story you would like to use in your video project. Then write down the script, describe the setting and make a production schedule. Stick to your plan.

3 Don’t give up. 

Practise the scene before shooting it, and try various devices to make sure that you have good quality image and sound in the video. Try shooting from different angles to add interest and change prospective.

4 Edit your work.

After shooting the video, meet for a critical viewing and give feedback to each other. Ask a teacher to help you with this. Make sure that you have team members who are good at video editing. Get creative! You can use online video editors or various app on your smart phone.

5 Organise a viewing.

Dedicate a lesson to sharing your videos with each other in class. Or organise a screening for the rest of the school.

6 Share online.

Create a YouTube channel where you can publish your videos for all to enjoy.

Resources to use digital resources and apps in the classroom.

Check out our resource books from The Resourceful Teacher Series.


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