Let your little detectives uncover the clues in The Maze of Bones
. This detective’s journal, discussion guide, and character cards will help kids crack the case (and improve comprehension!) Hook them on Book 1 of The 39 Clues Series - and soon they’ll be reading all eleven books!
• Detective's Journal
– Kids take notes and make observations in this 24-page foldable booklet – just like a real detective. Additional pages guide them through the book two chapters at a time. [Teacher/Parent Directions: Print the booklet back-to-back on six sheets of paper; fold.]
• Discussion Guide
- Whether you discuss in small groups, as a class, or at home, these questions and vocabulary words help students understand details of the text. [10 pages – one for every two chapters]
• Character Cards
- Let your kids create their own character trading cards! Each of the twenty cards has space for a drawing and character information.
• BONUS: Invisible Ink Activity
– In The Maze of Bones
, Amy and Dan use a black light to read a secret message from Ben Franklin. Now your detectives can try some invisible ink of their own. Three simple “recipes” are included.
Would you like to add more mystery activities? Try Think Like a Detective
! It features secret codes, fingerprints, observation activities, and deductive reasoning.
Note to Teachers and Parents:
By nature, mysteries have many characters and complex plots. This requires concentration and close attention to detail. Students in my classroom love mysteries but sometimes struggle to keep track of those details. I’ve found that taking notes in a journal, discussing with targeted questions, and creating character posters or cards really helps.
Mystery books have the power to boost kids’ critical thinking and close reading skills. Reading The Maze of Bones
in class or at home is a great choice! Once they read the first book in The 39 Clues series, they’ll soon be sailing through the other ten books in the series.
In my classroom, I pair this mystery novel study with The Westing Game
. It's an intricate mystery, full of twists and turns, which gives advance learners a greater challenge. [Note: Due to its difficulty, I do not recommend using this book before second semester of fourth grade.]
Brenda Kovich, NBCT
Looking for more novel units? Try these:
• Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
• Little House in the Big Woods
• The Black Stallion
• Ella Enchanted