Five inference activities and five short mystery stories help kids build close reading and critical thinking skills. These materials are great additions to any mystery unit. They can also be used as stand-alone reading comprehension activities.
- In order to understand mysteries, students must be able to pull subtle clues from the text and make inferences. For example, if a character’s eyes are red and puffy, kids can infer that he has been crying (or has allergies). Each page of inference activities focuses on a specific theme:
1. Inferring Professions
2. Inferring Age Groups
3. Inferring Relationships
4. Inferring Vacation Spots
5. Inferring Information About People
These short inference activities encourage readers to become more observant, pull small details from the text, and make inferences. They’re great for scaffolding to mystery stories.
- Five short, simple original stories are included. Reading them helps students learn to locate subtle clues (including false clues, or red herrings). They can also act as exemplars for student writing.
1. The Case of the Missing Cookies
2. Mystery of the Missing Bike
3. The Case of the Missing Lunch Bag
4. The Mysterious Whispering
5. The Case of the Disappearing Pansies
A magnifying glass organizer can be found after the first story. Kids use it to jot down clues they have found. This helps them understand how a mystery writer “maps” a set of clues (and throws in some red herrings, or false clues, to make the mystery harder to solve). As the unit progresses, students may use the organizer to write their own mystery stories.
Click PREVIEW for some sample pages.
In my classroom, our mystery unit begins with these reading activities. Students then read a novel (The Maze of Bones
for on-level fourth grade or fifth grade readers or The Westing Game
for advanced) and write their own mysteries. Lots of fun detective activities are thrown in to make them think. Check out the other mystery unit components:
• Mystery Writing - Write Like a Detective!
• Mystery Activities - Think Like a Detective!
• The Maze of Bones
• The Westing Game
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