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Finding Out Whodunit


Detective novels make great read-aloud fare for you and your older children, and much of the fun is in out-detecting the detectives.
  • The RIF Guide to Encouraging Young Readers.
  • Celebrations and Holidays, Drama, Rainy Day Fun
    • 3-5
    • 6-8
    • 9-12
    • teen
  • Multiple
  • Indoor, Outdoor
  • Bed, Play

MATERIALS: Small notebook or file cards for each participant, pens or pencils, hats (optional)

Everyone is a suspect in this effort to beat Miss Marple, Ellery Queen, or the great Sherlock Holmes in discovering whodunit. Everyone assumes the role of a suspect for the duration of the novel. Wearing hats will help everybody remember who's who, and add some suspenseful drama to the reading. So will making appropriate faces -- you don't need hats for that. As the story progresses, perhaps a chapter a night, the participants take notes on their own characters movements and motives. Before reading the final chapter and epilogue, each suspect prepares both an alibi and a confession based on his or her notes and presents it to the group. (The performances are all the more effective they include tears, recriminations, and other emotional displays.) After all the suspects have proved their innocence and confessed their guilt, the players turn detective. Each person reviews the information, discards any red herrings (meaningless clues the author plants in the story to mislead the reader), and votes on who he or she believes is the guilty party. Read the last chapter and epilogue. Were you right? Right or wrong, when it came to paying close attention to the plot and character development, everyone picked up on some important clues to reading comprehension.

Finding Out Whodunit