Reading is a challenging task for English as a Second Language (ESL) students (Pang, 2008; Nassaji, 2011). Instructors and researchers have explored various ways to promote ESL students' reading development. Since research on story-based pedagogy has shown benefits in the area of language development, stories can be used to promote ESL reading development. Furthermore, research on Digital Booktalk shows that when students engaged in after-reading video production activities they found a new purpose in reading (Gunter & Kenny, 2012). Additionally, digital storytelling (DST) research has revealed that DST can foster learner motivation and autonomy (Hafner & Miller, 2011; Kim, 2014). In this study, ESL instructors engaged adult ESL students in a video book trailer (VBT) production project. ESL students learned story structural elements, drafted story summaries, and used Web 2.0 tools to produce a VBT to retell the stories they read. This phenomenological study investigated ESL students' experiences in the VBT project. Data was gathered from questionnaires, interviews, classroom observations, and student assignments. Student interviews, classroom observations, and open-ended questions in questionnaires were coded. There were two cycles of coding where codes and pattern codes were developed. Data from questionnaires, classroom observation recordings and student assignments triangulated findings from interviews. This study revealed participants' learning benefits, challenges, and their comparisons with their earlier educational experiences. First and foremost, it is suggested that a VBT project could provide integrated and implicit English learning opportunities for reading, vocabulary, writing, pronunciation and speaking. The primary obstacles reported by participants were insufficient time and energy as well as demanding linguistic expectations. When comparing this project with their earlier learning experiences, participants identified that digital production tasks were somewhat familiar. While learning to produce their own VBTs, They developed their digital skills for English learning purposes and mastered video editing skills. Project completers reported that they were excited that they were reading for a brand-new goal and increased their self-efficacy in using English and working on academic projects. Pedagogical implications were provided for future implementation in second language classrooms.


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Graduation Date





Regalla, Michele


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Community Innovation and Education


School of Teacher Education

Degree Program

Education; Teaching English to Speakers of Languages Track




CFE0008067; DP0023206





Release Date

May 2020

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)