Reading Mystery Stories Can Also Teach Important Reading Skills

A good mystery story can keep you spellbound for a long time.  You do not want to put the book down until the mystery is solved and you know who has done it.  You read and try to pick out all the clues.  You try your best to figure out the ending.  Did you get it right after all?  If not, what clues did you miss?

Children love mystery stories as much as adults.  I’m not speaking about grotesque murder or horror stories, but good, old fashioned, mysteries.  For children, such mysteries can involve simple questions as who took someone’s lunch.  

In an article at Scholastic’s website, teacher Audrey Kennan writes about all the wonderful reading skills that are developed by reading mysteries.  Here are some of her observations:

  1. Mysteries teach classification skills.  Children learn the difference between types of stories, and become familiar with classifying stories in different groups, such as mysteries, romance, westerns, etc.
  2. Understanding how stories are written and developed are other important skills.  What makes a mystery? Students will learn about the importance of a plot and why a mystery is different than other stories.
  3. Developing the skill of inference is important in mysteries.  What are the clues?  What can you infer from the clues?  If someone is wearing a brand new pair of shoes in one chapter, but the shoes are dirty in another chapter, what can you infer?  This requires concentrating and remembering as well.   

You can read her entire article by CLICKING HERE.
Growing up, I loved the series of books Harriet the Spy, by Louise Fitzhugh.  I found Harriet to be smart and funny and the mysteries she got involved in were very well written for a child.

There are many websites that are devoted just to children’s mystery books.  I encourage you to do a little research and find good mysteries for your children.