Mystery Genre Study
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8
Mysteries get reluctant readers and writers enthusiastic about reading, thinking, and writing. They contain intriguing characters and hold a student's interest with their suspenseful and dynamic plots. Mysteries are a wonderful vehicle for teaching critical thinking and deductive reasoning skills in an exciting and enjoyable way. Use these lessons and resources to help students explore the Mystery Genre.
Introducing the Genre
In this lesson, students are introduced to the mystery genre and explore the vocabulary, characters, and plot structure they are likely to encounter when reading a mystery. They also learn to keep suspect lists and complete a mystery story map.
Introduce your students to the key characteristics and language of mysteries before they use critical thinking skills and graphic organizers to figure out whodunnit in series of short read-alouds, mystery books, and video.
Teacher Audrey Kennan shares seven ways she uses mysteries to teach crucial reading skills. 'Tis the season for a spooky story!
In this unit, students act as reading detectives to discover the elements of a mystery.
The 39 Clues: The Maze of Bones provides an opportunity to discuss the genre of mystery, teach the skill of making inferences, and develop vocabulary related to suspense. Activities will engage students in magic box math, using Google Maps, and secret code writing.
Discussion Guides and Activities
Discussion guide for the novels of Blue Balliett: Pieces and Players, The Danger Box, Hold Fast, Chasing Vermeer, The Wright 3, and The Calder Game.
Get students talking about the middle-grade series A Dog and His Girl Mysteries with these discussion questions.
When sixteen people are called together for the reading of wealthy Sam Westing's will, they are surprised to learn that the will is actually a contest in which they are all to participate. Use these questions to foster conversation about Ellen Raskin's The Westing Game.
Super sleuths Petra and Calder, along with Calder’s old friend Tommy, have been cryptically drawn into another mystery — this time involving a Frank Lloyd Wright architectural masterpiece, the Robie House.
This five-step workshop hosted by a published mystery writer offers tips, strategies and challenges to help students craft a successful mystery.
Students use a mystery planning sheet to map out and eventually compose an original mystery that contains all of the ingredients of a mystery.
Readers will discover classic mystery series like Sherlock Holmes and Jigsaw Jones and newer ones like A Dog and His Girl and The 39 Clues.
Books to support a mystery genre study. The list is divided into categories: read aloud, guided reading, and professional books.
What happens when there are too many coincidences, too many puzzle pieces that fit together? Do you ignore them, pretend nothing's happening? Or do you try to figure out what's really going on? Find out what Petra and Calder decide to do in Blue Balliett's Chasing Vermeer.
Before Law and Order, NCIS, and CSI, there was Sherlock Holmes, the most brilliant and famous crime solver of all time, and the model of modern crime detection.
Discover the answer to one of the most puzzling and intriguing mysteries in American history.
Sherry (short for Sherlock) Holmes Baldwin is spending summer break in California with her best friend, Junie. Find out what happens when her dead mom contacts her from the afterlife in Barry Summie's surprisingly uplifting book, I So Don’t Do Mysteries.