Monday, February 25, 2013


On Friday we finished up our Mystery Book Club Reading Workshop Unit. My kids love reading workshop, love books clubs and love mysteries! So I knew it would be a success.

I base my Workshop units off of Lucy's Third Grade Common Core Book. (I am going to Lucy Calkin's Writing Conference in a few weeks and I am soooo excited!).  I also used Nicole Shelby's Mystery Unit to accompany some of our workshop lessons.

In fact, these fabulous posters are Nicole's!

 Ignore the skeleton poster, can you tell I have a lack of wall space??  I loved having these posted throughout the unit.  The students were so cute when they used the mystery vocabulary words to describe their reading.  It was like they were really investigating the mysteries!

I split my students into three groups.  My highest group read Encyclopedia Brown. My middle group read A to Z Mysteries and my low group read Bailey School Kid Mysteries.  Our principal gave us some hard to come by moolah, and we were able to order some small group sets.  We were able to order 4 different books in each series and we shared them across the grade level. 

Here is how I do book clubs, it's not really literature circles or guided reading. The students read the book on their own during our 40 minutes of independent reading time.  They have a task to respond to into their reader's notebook. Then at the end of the time, they meet with their book club to discuss and share their thinking. (I don't do book clubs all year, just for a couple of units)

Now for some charts. (Please ignore my not so neat handwriting and dying markers)

We spent the first few days talking about the characteristics of a mystery. The detectives, the plots, the clues, the red herrings. 

We used some Nate the Great books for our mentor texts.  So we charted clues and suspects as a class. Then they did the same for their own books. 

We also talked about buzzing with our book clubs. 

The fun really started when we got into our second and third books! We compared our character and books across the series. 

We also talked about how mysteries can teach us things about human nature. 
Can you tell I was in a hurry with that chart? haha!

Well, there's a little peek into our mystery unit.  My kids had a blast and they were so into reading other books in their series. I LOVE listening into their books clubs to hear their thinking.  My class is just too cute this year!

Also, I have some new St. Patrick's Day Task Cards at my TPT Store. 

I hope you all had a great Monday! :)   


  1. you cracked me up with your charts! They look fine, I'm not laughing at THEM, just about your dying markers. Mine are not a pretty sight, that's why I don't show them, haha!

    I enjoyed reading how you've been teaching mysteries like this, with the different books and groups, but common elements.

  2. Fun! We do something similar after our state testing. Thanks for posting your charts! Great ideas!
    3 Teacher Chicks

  3. I wish I would have read this earlier. We started Mystery Book Clubs last week and I would have loved those posters and Nicole's unit resources. My kids are on their second book this week. Thanks for this post!!

    Kathy O.
    Third Grade Doodles

  4. I'm so inspired! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Great anchor charts for mysteries! I love the one of why people commit crimes. I hope to use it next year. I have also done a post on my blog about Mystery Book Clubs. Come and visit and perhaps we could share a link. Doreen at

  6. Great anchor charts for mysteries! I love the one of why people commit crimes. I hope to use it next year. I have also done a post on my blog about Mystery Book Clubs. Come and visit and perhaps we could share a link. Doreen at

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