The Reading Mysteries - Once Upon a Crime™ series are a unique design I created to encourage and develop skills in:
Forest Grime packet, we find out that Bert, is the boss of the Wolf Manufacturing Co. on Tall Street. See sample snippet below from the start of the reading passage in Clue 4:
You will not find these stories anywhere else and no extra books need to be purchased to use this resource. Everything (except paper and ink) is included within the download.
In this post, I will explain and showcase what to expect from these Reading Mystery - Once Upon a Crime™ packets to give you a better idea what they are about. Then, next week, I will post some implementation suggestions, followed by add-on ideas for extensions.
After downloading the resource, you will need to:
- Print the PDF file
- Make as many copies of the pdf file as needed for your students
- Get pens, pencils, and some highlighters
If you would like to show the optional video hook, have this ready for viewing on a tablet, desktop computer, or IWB before beginning.
Now you're ready to begin!
Capture attention with the video hook! The video hooks are designed to make students question what is going on? What could this mystery be about? But they will have to READ to find out.
What to expect? Below is the video hook for the Christmas Reading Mystery - Once Upon a Crime: RESCUE RUDOLPH to check out an example.
The Intro Reading Story Page:
After the video finishes, direct your students to start reading the first page of the mystery. See a sample preview page below from Rescue Rudolph:
The Possible Suspects List
After reading the first page, your students will see the possible suspects page that they must refer back to after discovering a clue.
Below is a sample page of the 'Possible Suspects' list from the Reading Mystery - Once upon a Crime, Humpty's Fall:
The above list is from Humpty's Fall.
Each Reading Mystery packet has a possible suspect list similar to this, with different characters and different categories (the character traits column is always one of the categories). Students must keep this page handy as they work through the clues. After discovering a clue, students must comprehend the message and use logical thinking to decide what the information is telling them to cross off the list. Whole rows must be eliminated at a time. If done correctly, after all five clues are completed, only one suspect row will be left on the list - that's the culprit!
The Five Clue Pages
Completion of the puzzle will help crack the code of the clue message at the bottom of the page. See sample image from The Haunting Hat below:
As you can see in the image above, the blank spaces in the answer section of the puzzle unlock a letter. To help with the spelling and filling of this section, students must read the question and search for the answer in the reading section above. As they fill in the letters, they will know what letter to put in each numbered box at the bottom of the page. For example, we find that the number 2 blank line equals the letter 'e' in question one. So then we put the letter 'e' in the box marked with the number 2 to start revealing the clue message. Once finished, the boxes at the bottom will reveal information that will help students decide which suspects to cross off the list.
It's important to complete the clues in the correct order for this to work and for the story to make sense.
Please note: Stay tuned, I'm updating all of these reading mysteries to have an alternative structure option in each packet that will help to differentiate these reading activities. I will write and show examples of the new B-Edition addition to these resources soon.
At the end of the Reading Mystery
After discovering all five clues, if done correctly, your students will be able to narrow down the characters on the 'Possible Suspects' list to one. The last character remaining is the answer to the mystery! In the packet, there's an extra optional writing page that will require your student to declare the culprit, and explain their reasoning for eliminating certain characters post each clue.
See a sample page from Once Upon a Crime, Stolen Time below:
The boxes at the bottom are for you to check off to say whether they solved the case correctly, or not. Some kids may need a little guidance with the elimination process - if this is the case for most of your students, you could do the eliminating discovery part as a whole class to find the culprit.
Once students solve the mystery, you can award them with an 'Article Award' that provides a blank line for your star detective's name. The article award must be kept a secret until the end because it wraps up the story and states the culprit.
See below a partial article award sample from the Once Upon a Crime, Poisoned Valentine Reading Mystery. I've cut the award image off right before the guilty character is mentioned in the article story - just so the answer isn't given away.
Some article awards are half a page, others are a full page - it generally all depends on how much I need to wrap up the mystery story. If you want to save paper, you could read the ending article to the class instead and award them with stickers or something else of your choosing.
I will be continuing to make more of these Reading Mystery - Once Upon a Crime™ resources. You can currently buy them individually or in a Growing Bundle on my TPT store.
Next week I will be writing suggestions for how to implement these Reading Mysteries in your classroom.
Thanks so much for reading this week's post!
A 21st century School Teacher, Mother, and Wife.
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