Mystery of the Missing Pencils

Mystery of the Missing Pencils

Some of my students want to read chapter books. I have a very hard time trying to locate age appropriate and level appropriate chapter books for my high school students. I also would like the reading material to come with some basic skill monitoring activities, such as comprehension, main idea, characters, etc. Therefore, Mystery of the Missing Pencils was created.

During the previous school year, I read this book with a few of my 9th grade students during a time that we were working on Alternate Assessment reading standards. My girls loved the book! It typically took about a week to complete each chapter. We would read the chapter together, and then work on different activities. The book has 10 chapters. Each chapter is about 10 pages long. The font is enlarged and there are pictures to help with reading comprehension. While doing this activity, I did have one student that was able to read it independently and complete the activities independently. The other students needed me to read it to them.

I printed the chapters and activities in color and inserted them in page protectors. Everything went into a 3-ring binder and divided up for easy access.


For example, one of the activities we worked on while reading the book was main idea and setting. I had printed, laminated, and cut out the main idea and setting cards. (I, also, added the chapter number to the back of the cards before laminating. This allowed me to find the cards I needed faster.) The main idea and setting cards were placed in a page protector. The main idea and setting map was placed in a page protector. I added velcro dots to the front of the page protector and placed it on the table in front of my students. They would get three choice for main idea, and then place the card on the map. They would also select the settings we read about in the chapter and place those on the map.


We also explored the characters. Those cards were printed and laminated and placed in a page protector for storage. The character map was placed in a page protector and velcro was added to the front. After the story had been read, the students would locate the characters from the story and place them on the character map. We would discuss how the character changed, if the character was the main character, etc.


The sequencing cards were cut out, laminated, and cut out again. (This is something I do for all my cards.) I, also, added the chapter number to the back of the cards before laminating, to allow the adult to locate the needed cards faster. The sequence cards were also placed in a page protector for storage. The sequencing map was in a page protector and velcro added to the front. After reading the story, students were given the cards to put in order on the sequencing map. The cards had a short sentence and pictures to assist in reading.


Students worked on vocabulary words that were found in the story. They had a writing binder. This binder allowed student to write down their vocabulary words and figurative phrases. It also included a place to draw a picture of the word and write the definition.

The book took a lot of time to complete, but it was worth the extra effort. My students enjoyed reading it and solving the mystery as well. The repeated work on the other activities really strengthened their skills to be able to find the main idea or explain what different figurative phrases meant. We really had a lot of fun completing it. If you are interested in more information, view the YouTube video below or visit our website at this link.