Reading is a basic tool of learning, preparing students for life outside of school. If an individual can read adequately and develop a life-long love of reading, he/she will not only develop good language and communication skills, but also learn to solve problems effectively in everyday life. It is reading that promotes the essential cognitive development skills one must possess in order to succeed in adult life.
Comprehension is the focal point of the reading process. Learning to comprehend involves relating vocabulary to experience; understanding ideas, concepts, and processes; recognizing relationships; making comparisons; drawing inferences; reflecting and interpreting; and reading between the lines. As these skills are mastered, comprehension occurs and leads to one being able to critically evaluate ideas, which is what is important in modern life. Also, as result of a better understanding of and the ability to decode what has been read, the student should begin to enjoy reading, no longer considering it just another difficult school subject, but something to do for pleasure, opening up new worlds, ideas and information that were once locked inside someone else’s imagination.
In 1994 the U.S. Congress adopted eight national goals which set high expectations to improve this country’s performance in educating our children. Goal three states that, “By the year 2000, . . . every school in America will ensure that all students learn to use their minds well, so they may be prepared for responsible citizenship, further learning, and productive employment in our nation’s modern economy.”
These goals compel educators to develop creative curricula which will lead to their achievement.
This curriculum unit will present the literary genre of detective fiction to entice, motivate, and instruct sixth grade students. It will present a “whole-learning” approach, focusing on improving the critical thinking skills of students through the use of the mystery novel.