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Lesson Plan

Junie B. Jones Introduces Literacy Mystery Boxes

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Grades K – 2
Lesson Plan Type Unit
Estimated Time Seven 35-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Helen Hoffner, Ed.D.

Helen Hoffner, Ed.D.

Ridley Park, Pennsylvania


International Literacy Association



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From Theory to Practice



Junie B., as she insists on being called, is an opinionated, lively, character in Barbara Park's series of books, and she is sure to delight primary students. In this unit, the teacher reads aloud selections from Junie B., First Grader (at last!). Students discuss the text with a partner and then individually compose sentences about key events from the story. Each student also creates and adds items to a mystery box, or a box that holds items or pictures referenced in the story. After students have listened to the entire story, they use their mystery boxes to retell the story to a classmate. As a culminating activity, students use the mystery boxes and the sentences they composed to make a related stapleless book about the story.

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Stapleless Book Stapleless Book: Students can use this interactive site to create a six-page story using the sentences they composed during the lesson.

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Pearman, C.J., Camp, D., & Hurst, B. (2004). Literacy mystery boxes. The Reading Teacher, 57(8), 766768.

  • A literacy mystery box contains items that are referenced in a book, story, or any piece of text. The boxes can be used before reading to introduce a story, during reading to follow plot episodes as they are introduced in the story, or after reading as a response activity.

  • Literacy mystery boxes motivate and encourage students to engage actively in reading.

  • Using literacy mystery boxes after reading, students can retell a story by including items that were mentioned in the story's plot. While sharing the story with their classmates, the physical objects serve to remind students of the story's content.

  • Laverick (2002) found that when students are given an opportunity to respond to text before, during, and after reading, they are better able to "focus on the text and become more active, comprehending readers."


Laverick, C. (2002). B-D-A strategy: Reinventing the wheel can be a good thing. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 46(2), 144147.

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