Exploring mysteries with your class is a great way for students to develop critical thinking skills in a fun and engaging way. Mystery books for kids, like the graphic novel Secret Coders, by Gene Luen Yang and illustrated by Mike Holmes, always have strong characters and compelling plot structures, and of course, there’s a big payoff at the end—your students get to solve a mystery!

    Plus, check out 8 Mystery Books for Amateur Sleuths

    At Stately Academy, there’s no end in sight when it comes to mysteries for kids to solve, like why does the best school in town look like a haunted house? But Hopper and Eni are up to the challenge, using their coding skills to follow clues and solve puzzles the school’s founder left for them. This book not only provides students the opportunity to study important features of mystery books, but they get to learn about programming and binary numbers at the same time.

    Here are a few tips for teaching the mysteries to your students using Secret Coders:

  • Encourage students to look for language and define vocabulary used to build suspense and mystery throughout the text. Phrases and words like “gave me the creeps” and “haunted” are good indicators that your students have a mystery on their hands.
  • After each chapter, check in with students to see if they’re able to follow the plot and what predictions they have for the next chapter.
  • During reading, ask students to stop and consider important facts and ideas when they uncover them. Encourage student to write these key facts down and to think about each one independently and then together with the other pieces of evidence they’ve discovered.
  • Make sure students pay attention to how characters change and develop from the beginning to the end of the story. Encourage them to reflect on the personal characteristics that allow Hopper and Eni to work well together.
  • After reading, ask students to consider the predictions they made while reading and following the clues to solve the mystery. Were they correct in their hypotheses? What changed?
  • Reading mysteries like Secret Coders isn’t only fun, it’s a great way for students to develop the problem-solving skills they need for success inside and outside the classroom. For more books and tools to teach the mystery genre to your students, check out our favorite mysteries.