Solve the mystery!

10 - 11 years
Ideas to help your child practise their literacy skills - with you, and online
Young detective

Developed in partnership with Education Services Australia

The Australian Curriculum sets the goal for what all students should learn as they progress through their school life. Skills in the Year 5-6 curriculum include:

  • drawing on past experiences and knowledge to find meaning in texts
  • reading and interpreting clues.

It’s easy to help your child practise these skills as part of everyday life – just use these simple ideas.

Scavenger hunt

A great way to give your child practice at creating and interpreting clues is a scavenger hunt – a progressive treasure hunt where you need to solve clues and collect (or photograph) items.

To prepare the hunt, you choose a series of objects, then create a series of clues to each object. Try to make the clues harder to solve as the hunt progresses:

  • begin with clues that are precise, direct and use descriptive terms 
    Find the old book with the colourful cover on the left side of the desk.
  • harder clues describe the qualities or location of the item without naming it
    Look for something that is big, flat and covered in green. You can find it where I do my homework.
  • even harder (to create and to solve) are riddles that describes the qualities of an object without naming it
    I am loved by everyone in the family, and need electricity to run. I entertain and inform. I can be controlled without being touched. (Answer: Television)

Once you have your clues ready, give your child the first one. If they have trouble breaking the clue, encourage them to identify the key words and phrases in the clues. As your child solves each clue and finds the item, give them the next clue, until they reach the end of the scavenger hunt.

If your child enjoys the hunt, they might want to enjoy creating their own scavenger hunt. Help them to think about their audience when they are writing their clues, and avoid clues that require information the audience won’t know. For example, something grandma gave me for my birthday might not be a good clue for a school friend.

Go online

For online reinforcement, Pop star puzzle will give your child practice at:

  • finding facts in information texts
  • putting information in order.



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Last modified
7 April 2020