End of Year Distance Learning Reading Mystery Activity - Reading Comprehension

Grade Levels
2nd - 4th
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  • Google Apps™
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The Teacher-Author indicated this resource includes assets from Google Workspace (e.g. docs, slides, etc.).

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  1. This Reading Mystery Bundle contains all of my 'Once Upon a Crime' story activity packets to date. It will be a growing bundle since any future reading mysteries of the 'Once Upon a Crime' series will also be added to this bundle. Easy prep! Just Print & Solve! Or go paperless with the new Googl
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End of Year Reading Mystery: Once Upon A Crime, Wizard Blizzard!

Your students will have fun solving this mystery while learning skills in reading, comprehension, synonyms, antonyms, nouns, verbs, adjectives, critical thinking, and deductive reasoning!

Easy prep! Just Print & Solve! Or go paperless with the new Google Slides option provided within your download.

Distance Learning Update: There's the option to open the worksheets digitally using Google Slides. Please note, you will need to make a copy of the Google Slides to your drive before you can edit.

Goals of the Activity

- The main goal in this mystery is to encourage reading and comprehension.

- The work involved to solve the clues covers skills such as comprehension, spelling, and vocabulary work/puzzles.

- Students must highlight the evidence in the reading to prove their answers.

- The discovery format requires a fill in the missing letter process to unlock clues in the original pdf file. The B-Edition structure found in the alternate folder allows you to set the mystery up like an escape room and requires full answers instead of missing letters.

- Reading is required to be able to solve the missing letters in words, sentences, and statements or to complete the answers in the B-Edition copy.

- Each clue requires students to critically think and use deductive reasoning to narrow down their list of suspects. The last suspect remaining is the wizard who caused the school blizzard!

All of the reading passages are included in this original story that features your 'student detective' as the star throughout.

Video Hook included for optional use - view in the preview thumbnail section.

The MP4 file is included within the compressed ZIP folder of the download. The video hook is designed to be used at the start of the activity to set the stage to engage.


This is a print and solve activity. Everything that you need for this activity is in the download, including the reading passages. Just print, copy for your students and set up the (optional) video hook for viewing at the start! The video hook is designed to make students think 'what's going on?' This was done on purpose to encourage them to read.

Digital option - Make a copy of the Google slides for each student.

Implementation suggestion:

Depending on your students' reading abilities, the ease of this activity may vary. To keep everyone at the same pace, you could read the passages together as a class and then follow up with the activities to fill in the missing letters that will help unlock a clue. For independent work, set a timer for reading only, and then allow them time to answer the questions and re-read the text if they need. If your students find this too easy, I'd recommend the 'Private Eye CSI - Literacy Mysteries' range instead, which requires inferring and more skill to solve the mystery.

If your students are trying to attempt the activity section without reading the passages, instruct them to highlight the evidence in the reading text to show you where they found the answers.

Read more about implementing this activity in your classroom HERE.

How long will this activity take?

This varies depending on the age and reading level of your students. If you would like to keep your class at the same point, I recommend pacing the clues one by one.

What are Once Upon a Crime Reading Mysteries?

Learn more about what to expect in this blog post.

There are FIVE clues to crack!


- Reading

- Comprehension

- Synonyms & Antonyms

- Nouns, Verbs, and Adjectives

- Spelling

- Finding Evidence in the text

- Critical Thinking

- Deductive Reasoning

- Writing (optional on the mystery declaration sheet)

OPTIONAL: After finishing the five clue sheets, an optional mystery declaration sheet can be used to state the guilty wizard. On this declaration page, students report WHO they think is the culprit, plus outline the clues discovered along with their elimination reasoning for each.

Fun printable certificate in an article format included too! (Shhh.... keep these a secret as they reveal the mystery answer in the newspaper article your little star detective is also featured in.)

You will also receive instructions, answer sheets and an elimination guide.

Your feedback on this resource would be appreciated.

Differentiation Options included with this Resource

  • A 'B-Edition' Alternative Structure is included for differentiation purposes. This alternative copy of Wizard Blizzard removes the missing letter filling structure and requires full answers. If you choose to use the B-Edition copy, you will need to prep the clue cards into envelopes or boxes (or keep hidden) and students will need to check-in with you to gain access to each clue.
  • Word Banks are included within a single file found in the alternate options. These are useful if you need to make this activity easier for some of your students.
  • Check out the 'Read me' file included in the folder download first.

Thank you and enjoy!


You may also be interested in:

Other Once Upon a Crime Reading Mysteries

Stolen Time

Which Witch?

Humpty's Fall!

Turkey Trouble!

Poisoned Valentine

Fool's Gold


Teacher Toads

The Haunting Hat


Grab the Bundle and Save!

Add extra motivation with this Detective Rank Chart Download the Mystery Record & Rank Chart FREEBIE HERE


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Thank you!

Mrs. J.

© 2019

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