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Detectives in the Classroom

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Mystery books appeal to a sense of curiosity and encourage the reader to engage themselves and think. So, why aren’t they used in classrooms? The curriculum used in the English classroom is tedious. In the classroom, teachers use poetry and books from the 1950s to try and teach students to stimulate their imagination. Really, we should be using mystery books. In this neglected genre of books, the author pushes you to look at the page and accept the facts, but it is up to the reader to push back and read between the lines. 

Mystery books have been around since 1841. They have defined certain points in history and, have developed and brought certain cliches to life. When reading mysteries, you learn to concentrate on the details. There is a mental battle that ensues between the writer and the reader, causing the reader to challenge what they believe is a fact. So, when we have students reading poetry that dates all the way back to 1591(like Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare), we slow down the process of them developing academically. Poetry often steps off grammatical constructs in order to achieve an artistic effect, but only makes it harder for a student to analyze the said poem. 

Mystery books not only appeal to the student’s education but the student’s interests. Rather than reading something they can hardly stand, have them read something they can really get into.  Mysteries are fun to solve, and by diving into this genre educators can encourage students to use deductive reasoning to find a solution. When reading the mystery book, they can become the central character, causing them to think and make rational decisions the main character would often not make. They can learn about right and wrong in a controlled environment. This can prepare them for the real world when they are faced with moral dilemmas. 

When reading mystery books, students can use pattern recognition and critical analysis to uncover the unexpected. 

The lesson can expand beyond the pages of a mystery book. Teachers can craft assignments that drip clues encouraging students to develop a strategy on the path to a solution. In this way, K-12 teachers can encourage students to draw upon, and develop their crucial thinking and deductive reasoning that will serve them through their academic years, and possibly throughout life. 

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