Exploring the Mystery Genre

Students at all reading stages need opportunities reading from all genre types. Students who know the text features associated with each genre are able to pull from the text the information that is most important to remember.  By learning how the "genre puzzle pieces" fit together, readers can focus on what is most important in the text.  In this post, we'll explore mysteries. This post was originally part of a blog link up, so check out the other posts using the linked images below.

Text Evidence

Even very young learners can be taught the reading language associated with each specific genre through mentor text lessons. In a whole group setting, learners can readily share in breaking down the genre puzzle as the teacher models with graphic organizers, sticky notes, foldables, and bookmarks to record what's important during shared reading experiences.  As students gain writing skills, they too are able to record the clues or text evidence they need to support their thinking.

So what are the important elements of a mystery? Like all fiction, mysteries include characters, a setting, and a plot, but with more analysis of mysteries, readers will find other common features. Readers need to pay attention to the clues and recognize when the clues are pointing to a red herring, or false lead.  The plot is structured like other fiction with a beginning problem (and it may be a crime) and introduction of characters, a middle that involves the revealing of clues that the reader uses to figure out what happened, and an end where the solution is revealed.  I love this handout from ReadWriteThink.org  I have used it with my upper elementary students to provide them with information explaining each mystery element.

Best Mystery Options


There are lots of mystery options available, but my favorite starter mysteries are the Nate the Great books. My kids have really enjoyed them, and I've created a few units to use with my kids. With Nate, you need to start with book one. This unit includes a variety of activities including a prereading story impressions activity to help students with using word knowledge to make thoughtful predictions.  Students use the word list from the book to make guesses about what they think will happen.  Students will work with the vocabulary before reading as well. Preteaching Tier 2 vocabulary words is important, and throughout the reading process, repeated exposures are essential as it takes 12-15 uses of the word to really understand a word.

During reading, students record the story elements. I also have included guiding questions for your lesson and a few other comprehension activities.

After reading, students revisit the word list and use the words to summarize the story on the story impressions page.

In addition to guided reading materials, I've included a few writing pages for students to use as a response to the reading.  They can write their own Nate tale or create a mystery of their own.  Nate loves pancakes and feels pancakes help him think better, so I added a theme related writing prompt too.

Thanks for visiting today. I hope you'll check out my unit to use with your students, and if you'd like to keep informed of upcoming reading events from our group and tips from my room to yours, please follow me on Bloglovin or by email.

16 comments

  1. Love this! I almost did a Nate the Great book, so I'm glad you did! Thank you for all of your hard work putting together this hop!

    Don't Let the Teacher Stay Up Late
    Follow me on Bloglovin!

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    1. I am so excited to see what everyone did! I am just starting. Thanks so much for joining in Melissa! I know this is going to be great!

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  2. Thank you for a wonderful product!
    Sandi at Literacy Minute

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    1. Thanks a bunch for joining in Sandi! I think it's been lots of fun, and I can't wait to see all of the ideas.

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  3. This is fun and thanks for the Nate the Great!

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    1. You're welcome Laura! I hope your students enjoy it!

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  4. What a fun blog hop- thanks!

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    1. So glad you enjoyed it, Jan! I hope you'll enjoy all of the materials too.

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  5. Carla, your blog is soooo cute! I love Nate the Great stories! I can really use this! Thank you for a great blog hop! =)

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    1. Thanks Stacy! I love Honey Bunch Blog Design! They do a great job. So glad you joined in and I hope you'll enjoy the unit.

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  6. I'm so excited to start hopping through the Super Sleuth. Thanks for organizing it! Love the information you provided on text features and mysteries. Nate the Great is so much fun!

    Wendy
    Read With Me ABC

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    1. I'm so glad, Wendy. Thanks so much for joining in the fun.

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  7. I love that you include information about the Tier II words. Thank you so much for this great blog hop! I am excited to read all the posts.

    Em
    Curious Firsties

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    1. Thanks so much for joining in, Em. I love your blog and your freebie too. :-) I love the light/dark contrast with the navy colors.

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  8. Thanks for organizing such a great blog hop! Thanks also for sharing a great product! I left some love at your store.
    Najda

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    1. I hope your kids enjoy the unit, Najda. I appreciate your support and following. Maybe you'll get luck with this drawing too. :-) Good luck!

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