If you are teaching a mystery like And Then There Were None or Chasing Vermeer, this reading response journal can help. This packet will challenge your students to summarize the text and analyze story elements using textual evidence and critical thinking. The standards-based questions are open-ended enough to use with a variety of middle school novels.
Perfect for a class novel or genre study, it also provides accountability for book clubs (literature circles) and independent reading. Response prompts are provided in two formats: ten whole page worksheets for distribution one day at a time, or a packet to be folded and stapled into a fourth-page student booklet. Either way, two weeks worth of reading response questions are included.
Mystery Genre tasks include:
♦ Analyze setting
♦ Identify the narrator
♦ Evaluate a character
♦ Analyze imagery
♦ Describe the conflict
♦ Identify clues
♦ Analyze suspense
♦ Make connections
♦ Each day, summarize the text
First, choose whether you will distribute full page handouts or have students create a mystery mini-book. For full page handouts, simply print as many copies as needed of each page. These handouts also include editable text boxes in the header so that you can change the title or assign specific pages.
For mini-books, pages 15-20 are formatted for double-sided printing. Print or copy pages 15/16, 17/18, and 19/20 back-to-back.
You can then assemble the mini books yourself or have students do this part. Cut each page along the solid horizontal line. (If you have access to a paper slicer, this is an easy time saver for you!) Stack the half-page sheets so that page 1 is facing up and is at the bottom of the stack, with 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11 above. Then straighten the pages and staple on the dotted line. Fold and enjoy your booklet!
How to Use this Mystery Reading Response Journal
Have students complete page 4 in class before beginning their books. Distribute pages 5-14 one day at a time. If students are reading a class novel together, you may pre-plan which pages to assign each day and edit those pages at the top before photocopying. This format also makes it easy to differentiate for students who need fewer response tasks.
Have students complete page 1 of the mystery mini-book before they begin reading. If students will be participating in book clubs or literature circles in which they will read the same book, they should first agree upon stopping points for each day to avoid spoilers.
If you love this Mystery Reading Journal, you’ll also appreciate the packets for these other genres. Biography, fantasy, historical fiction, realistic fiction, scifi/dystopian, and nonfiction are all available separately or in a money-saving bundle.