Reading mysteries really boosts comprehension. Why? Kids must read closely and make inferences. Try this scaffolded approach. Get ready with simple inference activities. Next, get set with short stories. Finally, go! Ask kids to read longer novels. Support reading with plenty of discussion.
Get Ready – Reading Mysteries Requires Kids to Make Inferences
Before reading mysteries, kids need to learn inference skills. These quick activities do the trick. Each presents a simple situation. Kids study the pieces. Then they put them together. Voila! An inference! Click here to download this page.
Get Set – Start by Reading Short Mysteries
Now it’s time to read some mysteries. Keep it short. Try kid-friendly, simple stories. Ask them to find all the clues. Don’t forget the red herrings (false clues). Now show them how to connect the real clues to crack the case. You’ll soon realize that kids are paying closer attention to details. Wait! They’re also making inferences! Click here to download the story and organizer.
Mystery picture books bring more fun into your unit. Try The Web Files (a hilarious barnyard parody of Dragnet) or The Berenstain Bears and the Missing Honey. Map the mystery by writing clues and red herrings on index cards. Draw arrows to show how the clues move the audience toward the solution.
Go – Let Kids Read Mystery Novels
It’s finally time to read a full-length mystery novel, such as The Maze of Bones or The Westing Game. For optimal comprehension, encourage lots of discussion. You may also want to try literature groups and/or detective’s journals. Read on to learn more about teaching mystery novels, as well as using mystery writing and mystery activities in your classroom.
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