Why Use Mysteries for Teaching?

Free lesson plans, ideas, and online mysteries to teach critical thinking and reading comprehension

Mysteries get reluctant students enthusiastic about reading, thinking and writing. While textbooks can be dry, mysteries, with their intrigue, characters, and gradually revealed storyline, hold the students’ interest. Students become involved in what they are reading because they use deductive reasoning and research skills to solve the mystery.

All Stages of Bloom’s Taxonomy

As presented in Bloom’s Taxonomy, mysteries can be used to achieve higher levels of thinking in these ways:

  • Knowledge: Students arrange characters and events in the mystery.
  • Comprehension: Students classify events, describe characters, and explain precisely what has occurred.
  • Application: Students apply existing knowledge to the mystery by illustrating, dramatizing, and writing their interpretations.
  • Analysis: Students analyze, categorize, and differentiate characters and events.
  • Synthesis: Students collect and organize facts to form hypotheses.
  • Evaluation: Students appraise, argue, assess, and evaluate their opinions in the process of solving the mystery.


Mysteries are exciting reading for students. Students become enthused about the plot development, character analysis, clues, and gathering of evidence and possible solutions.


Once students are exposed to the mystery genre, they will want to write their own for others to enjoy and solve. When writing an original mystery, the student will brainstorm, research, and develop specific elements that demonstrate their knowledge and their own exciting vision. After these elements are completed, the next steps are outlining, drafting, conferencing, revising, and publishing.


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