Even though I live in Texas, I can already feel the crispness in the air. Fall is my favorite time of the year because it's football season, I love delicious fall foods and the beautiful colors of the autumn leaves. The school year is underway and our local elementary is preparing for its school carnival. Students and families get so excited about the fun activities.
Cam Jansen: The Mystery of the Carnival Prize
I chose inferencing as a target skill for this fun mystery book. Making inferences is an important skill and can sometimes be difficult for struggling readers. Cam Jansen Mysteries are favorites of students as they learn basic concepts in reading mysteries and making inferences.
I suggest that you begin the lesson by asking students if they have ever been to a school carnival or carnival in their area. This always leads into a great discussion. "Today we're going to begin reading a book about the Mystery of the Carnival Prize..."; "Have you ever won a prize at a carnival?..." "How do you feel when you don't win?"; "What do you think this mystery will be about?..."; "We're going to study the skill of making inferences or drawing conclusions from reading text... Finding clues in solving the mystery is an important part of making inferences."
Good readers ask questions and make inferences before, during and after reading:
- What questions do I have about the topic?
- What does the author mean?
- What was I thinking as I was reading the text?
- What was the big idea from my reading?
- What clues from the story/passage help me understand the meaning?
** Inferring means to go beyond the words of the text and make judgements about what is not there but implied. ** (Guiding Reading and Writers)
In reading a mystery, students have to read closely and go beyond the words of the story so they can find clues and make judgements.
- Discuss characteristics of Cam and how she has a photographic memory. Explain how she snaps a picture of things. She stores clues in her head so she can remember them and solve the mystery. "What do you infer from the characteristics of Cam?"
Working with the Text
I have two different activities in this freebie.
- Because we want students to ask questions before, during and after reading, I provided a lesson for students to complete as they read the book. This can be used as students read each chapter. Answers can be written as the students read. Doing this activity helps lead into inferring. (You have flexibility in how you want to implement the activity.)
- This activity uses what characters say or do in making inferences. Students will first write down what the text says. Next, students will write what they already know, and then write their inference from reading between the lines.
- For your literacy center, I've added task cards for students to read and then write their inferences. These task cards contain excerpts from the book. (Answer key is given.)
A little more about mysteries and inferencing...