This school year, I taught a unit on "the unknown" in the Globe Literature Series with this group of students. The purple edition is designed for use in ninth grade basic courses where reading ability is below grade level. Students who are more advanced or on grade level use other editions. The Advancement Academy students became engaged in the subject matter. They were able to read and visualize "Death" in several different ways. They found that the readings gave them a new view of the Loch Ness Monster, poltergeists, and other mysteries. They were able to expand their thinking. And they read with little urging. Even the most immature students involved themselves in the literature and discussions. They seemed to enjoy reaching their own conclusions and relating their own experiences to the mysteries that we explored.
Following this experience and coupling it with their interest in police, it seems that mystery novels, detectives, and spy thrillers will also attract attention. My intent is to construct a unit for ninth grade students with low level reading abilities. I wish to introduce literature which is found in the local bookstores and which students might share with other family members. My goal is to put these children into the main stream so that when they become adults, they are reaching for one of the many mysteries sold in the United States. These will be books everybody reads. In this case, it is hoped that the term, everybody, includes family and friends of the Academy students. Because the world of police and detectives plays such a prominent role in their lives, the one book chosen will involve a police presence.
I anticipate that students will be interested enough to read at least one full book as a class and, then, be encouraged to continue reading independently. This unit is based on the premise that, with the capture of their interest, there will be opportunities to provide reading instruction. In addition, the emphasis on the procedure of the detective relates to the scientific method and critical thinking - both skills needed for obtaining good scores on standardized tests and the completion of high school. Students appear to like mystery, revealing of clues, the unveiling of motive, the discovery of the answer, the closure presented by the solution of a crime. If all of the clues remain true, the completion of this unit of instruction will allow these students to escape from their daily lives into the world of interested readers.