Saturday, March 31, 2007

Bridging the Gap VI: Two More Beginning Chapter Mysteries

In case your beginning chapter readers want to "sample" one of each of the popular detective chapterettes, here are a couple of other beginning mysteries series to try out.

The The Jigsaw Jones Mysteries by James Preller, are written at a slightly lower level than the A to Z Mysteries mentioned in an earlier post, ranging from Accelerated Reader level 2.8 in The Case of the Class Clown to 3.3 for The Case of the Santa Claus Mystery. Most of Jigsaw Jones' cases take place in the comfy environs of his neighborhood and Mrs. Gleason's class at school, and like Sherlock, he has a trusty assistant, Mila Yeh.

The Third-Grade Detectives series by George E. Stanley feature a whole classroom of somewhat more advanced detectives than Jigsaw. Led by their ex-spy teacher, Mr. Merlin, chief sleuths Todd Sloan and Noelle Trocodero and all their classmates break codes and work out the clues with the help of police forensic scientist Dr. Smiley, who invites the kids into her CSI lab for some hands-on science which helps solve the cases. AR reading levels range from 3.4 for The Case of the Hairy Tomatoes to 4.3 for Mystery of the Stolen Statue.

Both of these series offer kid-tested popularity, opportunities for incidental learning embedded in the plots, and a chance to try the reader's powers of observation against those of the fictional detectives as they go along.

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