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By Helen WattsLiteracy Time PLUS Editor, and Kevin McCann – Author and poet. Movie trailer and poster courtesy of Fox Clips Licencing Department.

An interactive resource comprising a selection of persuasive texts linked to the movie world: a trailer; billboard poster; review and a book blurb.


Background information

This interactive resource focuses on persuasive language and comprises a selection of persuasive texts linked to the movie world: a trailer for Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian; a billboard poster; a review and a book blurb. The activities are ideal for those teaching Year 5 Non-fiction Unit 3 – Persuasive writing, or working on the Y5/6 Transition Unit – Persuasion

Shared teaching and learning

  • Introduce/discuss the title page.
  • Read the Introduction. What can we learn from this resource? How should we use it?
  • Invite children to navigate through the resource, taking turns on the IWB. Ask them to make notes on each section to feedback later.
  • Watch the film trailer together.


  • Discuss the trailer, using the accompanying questions. Make a checklist of persuasive devices. (Use later when making trailers.) Discuss the effect of the background music. How/why were the clips chosen? How is the text between images persuasive? How have specific actor’s lines been singled out for effect? Why use the names of the historical figures, rather than those of the actors playing them? Discuss the importance of the film title, web address, release date. Take a vote: who would go to see the film on the strength of the trailer? Why?
  • What is the viewpoint of the film reviewer? How can we tell? How is this persuasive? Do these devices differ from those used in the blurb, trailer or poster? Does it have a different purpose?
  • Identify the connective words and phrases that are used to organise the review. Study the paragraphs, identify topic sentences and discuss how the supporting sentences build on the topic sentence. Make a bank of useful words and phrases for reviews.
  • Look for organisational differences between the different text types. Is the trailer a text? Establish an understanding that it would be scripted; that texts don’t all have large amounts of writing; that they are methods of communication.

Further reading

Night at the Museum Book adapted by Linda Edwards, with audio CD (Mary Glasgow Magazines, Scholastic Ltd, 978 19057 75248). Download free accompanying Teachers’ Resource Sheets from nightatthemuseum.htm. Read and hear Chapter 3 of the book in Literacy Time PLUS Ages 7 to 9, July 2009, Issue 66 – On-screen resource 2: Night at the Museum. This resource also includes an information text about six of the characters from the first movie, along with some background information on the film and its sequel.

Group and guided activities

  • Collect other persuasive texts. Place them in order of effectiveness.
  • Produce a blurb to advertise a school production, favourite book or film.
  • Research all the promotional activities around a movie, estimating the total of the marketing costs. What would it cost to make a film trailer?
  • Review a school play or a short film watched at home.
  • Write a short script for a section of a film, perhaps Night at the School. Film a performance, inviting children to review it. Make a trailer for the complete film.
  • Study the punctuation in the review – eg, the ellipsis, creating suspense/interest and encouraging you to read on; or dashes to add further information without losing the flow or pace. Practise using such punctuation then use it in reviews and/or scripts.
  • Research the historical figures in the trailer. Make a fact sheet or write biographies.

Speaking and listening/ICT links

  • Make an audio-visual presentation about persuasive language and how it can be used.
  • Research the ICT skills needed to provide a glamorous finish to a persuasive text. Create DVD covers and movie posters.
  • After filming the trailers, watch/evaluate one another’s, using the activity sheet activity sheet below, before having a film awards session. Agree the various skills to be recognised and give award and acceptance speeches.

Literacy Framework

See the Using this issue chart to identify the Learning Objectives covered by these activities, to track progression from Year 4 through to Year 7, and to identify links with Year 5 and 6 Planning Units.


What persuasive devices were identified? Which reading skills were used to locate them? Were they used effectively? Explain the effect of persuasive devices on the reader. How could this new knowledge be used? Review how well the children used their knowledge when producing their own versions of the text types.