Mystery stories have always been popular with K-12 students. Teachers can take advantage of this interest to help students engage in a genre study. J/YA mystery has come a long way since the days of Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys and, more recently, Encyclopaedia Brown. Reading mysteries not only supports literacy goals and fosters a love of reading but also demonstrates the power of critical thinking skills and promotes problem solving independently and in groups.
Close reading and comprehension
Reading a mystery challenges students to read closely and draws them deeply into the work. This engagement supports comprehension and the ability to predict plot, boosting the story stickiness. More importantly though, the sustained engagement with a compelling story leads the student all the way through a successful reading experience. Their curiosity propels them through the book, more joy than work.
There are classroom benefits beyond literary engagement with a specific story though. Modern juvenile mystery is usually crafted to tie in with fantasy, STEM, and historical events which teachers can leverage in cross-disciplinary lessons.
Need some ideas? Check out our librarian selected mystery titles. Do you have a favorite? One we missed? Let us know in the comments.