Mona Voelkel

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Family Mystery Reading Nights

One of the most enjoyable home/school literacy celebrations are Family Reading Nights.  Family Reading Nights are organized around a theme or genre, such as “Mystery.”  Our over-arching goal was to cultivate a positive attitude toward reading.  For each individual Family Reading Night, we would also have more specific goals.  For example, for Family Mystery Night, our goal was to introduce students and their families to the elements of a mystery and to share the names of mystery books and series that students in Grades 3-5 might enjoy.

Every Family Reading Night followed the same general schedule as below, except that we didn’t play a games as usual due to the logistics of setting up the mystery..  Here is that schedule that I updated for 2018!  Enjoy!  Here are some pictures from our last Mystery Family Reading Night!

1.      Notify Families Flyer sent home or posted on social media with dates and sign-up info.  We would need a response by a certain date so could have sufficient supplies.
Schedule of Mystery Reading Night Teachers are dressed as detectives.
1﷐  Cafeteria Families would meet in cafeteria.  Teachers would read mystery poems.  Reading Specialist would talk about mystery genre and do several book talks on recommended mystery book series.  Invention of Hugo Cabret” or “The Mysterious Benedict Society” for families looking for read-aloud recommendations
2.      Introduce Mystery Activity

You may want to provide students with props, such as magnifying glasses etc.

The Librarian had purchased a commercial mystery game for groups in 2011.  (If I was doing it now, I may choose a BREAKOUT-EDU or “Escape the Room” activity.)  Librarian explains how families will view an introductory video and then go to different classrooms to gather clues to solve the mystery.
3.     Families visit 6 classrooms in small groups and collect clues, according to a schedule which includes a cafeteria visit for a snack, The principal would sound a bell every 10 minutes so that groups would know when to move to the next classroom.  Teachers would be stationed in each classroom and the cafeteria to assist.
4.      Cafeteria After families have collected all clues, everyone meets back in the cafeteria to discuss/share their solutions to the mystery
5.      Farewell Families receive a list of mystery books, a take-home mystery book and a small gift (ours was a mustache and sunglasses.)

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