SKU: W9932245

Back to School Activity MYSTERY Readers Theater Fluency Inference Comprehension

Struggling to keep your students engaged at the start of the school year? Discover our Back to School Mystery Read Aloud! Perfect for upper elementary, this interactive activity sharpens inferencing skills while students play detective to uncover their new teacher’s identity. With minimal prep, it’s a fun, skill-building ELA block activity that can be spread out over a week. Keep your class excited and learning from day one! Check out the preview now!


20+ pages & 400+ slides
Zip, Google Apps™


This fun and engaging Halloween “Whodunnit” read aloud is a perfect activity for your students! In this activity, students will learn to become detectives and then use their sleuthing skills to figure out what happened to the magical spell book! With lots of suspects and circumstantial evidence, the students will have to take good notes, make lots of inferences, and think like a real detective in order to solve the mystery! This product was created with upper elementary students in mind, but it can definitely be scaled to work with other grade levels as well. So how does it work?

Check out the preview to see the actual teacher’s guide.

Here’s the plot:

Four friends from the monster world decide to spend Halloween night at a human Halloween party. They cast a magical spell that opens a portal to the human world. Not long after the party begins, Cordelia notices that her spell book has gone missing. The friends have until midnight to find the spell book, open the portal, and make it back to the monster world. Will they find who swiped the spells?

The students will take part in a 3-act reader’s theater. There are 22 characters which can be shared or doubled up in order to give every student a part. As the story unfolds, so do the clues. After each act, the students will stop, take notes, and discuss any suspicious activities. The final act reveals whether each character was responsible for swiping the spells.

How long will this activity take?

Plan on at least a couple hours. Reading the script will take at least an hour or so depending on the fluency of your readers and how well they are paying attention for their lines. Using the additional resources that are included will lengthen the amount of time. The more discussion and detective work the students do, the more fun the activity will be. This activity was designed to take up an entire ELA block of time, however, it can be spread out over a week’s time by completing one act a day. It’s a great Halloween activity!

* If you have completed the other Whodunnits, this version will be about the same length as I try to keep the stories to about the same number of total words (about 6,000.) It takes me 45 minutes to read it aloud at a slow pace.

What’s Included?

  • Reader’s Theater script in 3 versions (printable, PowerPoint, or Google Slides)
  • Lesson in motive, means, opportunity, and circumstantial evidence
  • 20 vocabulary words are sprinkled throughout the script
  • Sheets to take notes and narrow down the suspects (plus a Google Slides Version)
  • Writing activity to create the perfect ending to the story

Why Should You Use This?

I was inspired to create my first mystery product after hosting a murder mystery party for my own 16 year old daughter, who is very much into theater. It was said to be the best party ever! I wondered how I could create something similar for students! I modified the format of the clue delivery system to ensure that every clue was revealed to every student, and voila, Who Stole the Turkey was born. Since then, Who Stole Santa’s List, Who Left Us Cupcakes, Who’s Making Mischief, Who Freed the Fish, and now, Who Swiped the Spells have joined our list of fun classroom Whodunnits.

Having the Reader’s Theater is the perfect platform for integrating real academic skills. This activity will feel like a fun day, but not a moment of the day will be wasted!

This product is great because:

  • It’s super engaging
  • It targets real skills to help students grow in reading and writing
  • It helps students enhance their inferencing skills
  • There’s very little prep!
  • If you choose the digital script, along with your projector, you do not have to make a copy for each student. The font is very large so that students can read their lines from across the room.

Great for 4th, 5th, or 6th grade!


Want More Mystery Reader’s Theater?

  • Who Swiped the Spells? – Halloween Mystery Reader’s Theater
  • Who Stole the Turkey? – Thanksgiving Mystery Reader’s Theater
  • Who Stole Santa’s List? – Christmas Mystery Reader’s Theater
  • Who Left Us Cupcakes? – Valentine’s Day Mystery Reader’s Theater
  • Who’s Making Mischief? – St. Patrick’s Day Mystery Reader’s Theater
  • Who Freed the Fish? – End of the Year Mystery Reader’s Theater


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Terms of Use

This resource was created by Rachel Lynette and Cassi Noack for Minds in Bloom INC., all rights reserved. It may be used by the original purchaser for single class use only. Teachers may distribute this product in email, through google classroom or over the Internet to their students (and parents) as long as the site is password protected. In other words, you may distribute it to your own students, but may not put it on the Internet where it could be publicly found and downloaded.

If you want to share this resource with colleagues, please purchase additional licenses. Thank you for respecting these terms of use.

This product is happily brought to you by Rachel Lynette and Cassi Noack of Minds in Bloom

SKU: 8570738


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