- About the Initiative
- Curricular Resources
- On Common Ground
- League of Institutes
- Video Programs
Have a suggestion to improve this page?
To leave a general comment about our Web site, please click here
This unit is designed to promote reading for pleasure and the use of higher order thinking skills in middle school reluctant readers, particularly seventh and eighth graders. I use one mystery novel, Blood Trail by Nancy Springer, but the activities could be adapted for other literature. The mystery genre is a great choice for engaging students who do not enjoy reading because it capitalizes on the current popularity of television programs dealing with crime solving. Mysteries provide a perfect opportunity to grab students' attention. Trying to solve the "whodunit?" can pull them into the print world of the characters' emotions and quandaries, making them experience questions like "Shall I 'snitch' on a friend?" This novel is excellent for my purposes because it is short and written at about a fifth-sixth grade level, allowing students to become personally involved in a story involving the murder of a high school boy by his twin brother and the ethical situations surrounding it. Activities include using oral language skills and graphic organizers, writing expository and persuasive narratives, working with elements of a story, summarizing, predicting, and higher order thinking skills such as inferential and imaginative thinking. An extensive list of mystery novels is included.
(Recommended for Reading, English and Language Arts, grades 7 and 8.)
Number 16 of the periodical On Common Ground
Fourteenth Annual Conference
Public School Teachers Complete Program at Yale
Search Curricular Resources written by teachers in National Seminars and Local Teachers Institute seminars.
View the Photo Gallery of Participants at Yale.
Explore the archive of News and Feature Stories.