Sunday, November 1, 2009

No longer Clue"less"

I hope you have all read how I just about singlehandedly brought fame and fortune to almost destitute J.K. Rowlings. Well, as much as I hate to admit it, there are times when I am wrong.

I try not to jump on the bandwagon of trendy books. I prefer to wait them out and give them the kid test. Are kids reading them, checking them out of libraries, talking to their friends about them? Or texting and blogging about them? In the case of book series, are they counting down the days until the next book comes out?

This is about the unique series of books for upper elementary through middle school children - The 39 Clues. What is unique is that each book in this series is written by a different, well-known author and picks up where the last author left off. The authors take the orphaned Cahill siblings - Amy and Dan - on an action packed adventure around the world. So for fans of "The Amazing Race" this is right up your alley PLUS it's also filled with some history as well. In book 5, The Black Circle by Patrick Carman, Amy and Dan learn about Nazis as well as the truth behind the murder of the Russian royal family.

The object is to find 39 clues that are hidden around the world. Some of the clues are found in the books themselves as cards that are enclosed with them. Other clues are encrypted within the pages (the ageless holding the picture up to a mirror trick).

Readers are also encouraged by the publishers to go to, set up an account and play the game. Why the hype? Well, there are over $100,000 in prizes to be won!

Why am I promoting this? Anything that gets kids excited, motivated and talking strategy with their peers by drawing conclusions, synthesizing information using various sources of information isn't a bad thing.

While reading and playing along children are exposed to different types of text type - there is a memo in the back of each book, and being able to use several pieces of information at once to gather information - the book, clue card, and the computer. These are invaluable skills and the CATCH is that they are doing it for fun. I am a reading specialist and this is the very type of inferential comprehension that students all over the country are being tested on by their respective states.

Slow down bandwagon .... I'm jumping on!