"Well, what? You want a book report or somethin"
"How about a brain report?" he [Lewis Michaux] says.
"The man is something."
-- Samuel Walker aka Snooze in No Crystal Stair: A Documentary Novel of the Life and Work of Lewis Michaux, Harlem Bookseller

It's time we moved on from the dreaded book report to "brain reports." And bookcasts are one fine form of brain report.

A bookcast is a multimedia response to a literary experience. It is as singular and personal as the experience itself.

The goal of a bookcast is to cast as in "to set forth or let loose" a response to the book that shares not the story of the book but something that the book brought out in you, perhaps what you felt or learned through the reading and reflecting.

As Louise Rosenblatt wrote: “Literature is performing,” and a bookcast is a performance piece preserved for the Web.

Responses are usually of a text-to-self, text-to-world, or text-to-text connection.

One of the best examples of creative response to literature is the amazing StoryWorld created by Ramapo Island middle schoolers. It was envisioned and designed by these students in response to Robert Frost's well-known and beloved "The Road Less Traveled."

A Hard Choice: The Road I Traveled is an example of creating a story in 3D and filming it with Machima; definitely a new art form.

Note that the next url is really a slurl (Second Life url) and your Second Life browser (if installed) will open and take you to this location in Second Life. The Frost's Storyworld Installation includes a virtual school building with videos played on school walls as students explore the tragedy of eating disorders and the tough choices friends are faced with . . .

Exemplary bookcasts created by ECI 521 2010 students include:
Lara's response to Bones of a Faerie by Janni Lee Sumner. Lara combined many still images and short video clips and used MovieMaker (PCs) to create this first draft of what became an award-winning video, first place in drama category at the NC State Campus MovieFest, and then on to be screened at the regionals in Atlanta and nationals at Las Vegas.

Kyle's response to The Cardturner by Louis Sachar. Kyle has used an audio slide show style with slides made from single images and narration recorded for each slide. His tool: PhotoStory (for PCs).

Christine's response to Shiver by Maggie Stiefvator. Style Alert! Christine used the Common Craft style of simple cutout drawings videotaped in a linear story fashion.

Katrina made the most of a snow fall to take photos that help her share her response to Laurie Halse Anderson's Wintergirls.

Stephanie made a powerful text-to-world connection with this response to Rick Yancey's Monstrumologist.

The distinction between the more common book trailer and Stephanie's bookcast is clear when you view the publisher's book trailer.

Finally, using cartoons to create animated videos is a popular bookcast style. Here Alison has created cartoons with Toondoo, saved as jpgs, and then brought them into MovieMaker to add narration to her bookcast inspired by Adam Rapp 's Punkzilla. PikiStrips allows you to upload your own photos to create cartoons. See free and easy ways to create similar animated video slide shows . . .

See more bookcasts on the NC Bookcast Festival Playlist . . .
Learn more about tools for bookcasting in the Personal Learning Environments section.