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Young Readers' Series: In Search Of

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Open to: Grades 4-6

Prerequisites: Qualifying verbal score and/or qualifying math score [Note: While students are not required to be verbal qualifiers, they must be proficient readers and writers of English to gain value from the course. An optional, free, self-graded, 20- question readiness assessment is available.]

Course Format: Web-based classroom

Course Length: Session-based: 10 weeks (fall, winter, spring, late summer) or 12 weeks (early summer); Session Dates and Application Deadlines

Course Code: YRIS

Select the appropriate tab from the list below.

Course Description

Description

This course explores the challenges of those in search of missing loved ones--and the adventures of those who have disappeared. Critical thinking about the three required books is enhanced by the addition of related videos. In Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart, author Candace Fleming deftly uses alternating chapters to move between Earhart's life from childhood up until her last flight and the exhaustive search for her and her missing plane described in the 1937 newsreel below. With incredible photos, maps, and informative sidebars, Amelia Lost is a fascinating combination of nonfiction biography and real life mystery.

Title: Amelia Earhart Disappears into Pacific (1937)

In The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd, Ted understands weather patterns more than other people, including his sister Kat. When their cousin Salim disappears from a sealed pod on the London Eye, the teenager uses his brain that "runs on a different operating system" to work with Kat to solve the mystery. In The Time Travelers [also known as Gideon the Cutpurse] by Linda Buckle-Archer, twelve-year-old Kate and Peter are whisked back in time to the England of 1763 by an experimental antigravity machine. As they search for the time machine to take them back to the 21st Century, their parents--and the police--can't understand how the children literally seemed to vanish into thin air. Visit the Homepage of the In Search Of classroom.

About the Young Readers' Series Themes for Verbal and/or Math Qualifiers in Grades 4 - 6:
"In Search Of" and "The Right Stuff"

The Young Readers' Series is designed enhance a student's critical reading, writing, and thinking skills. Developed for enrichment, course assignments meet or surpass the Common Core College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Reading. As students participate in written discussion forums, they make inferences, determine motivations, evaluate arguments, and provide textual evidence to support their opinions. Creative writing assignments encourage students to take on different points of view, summarize details, compare authors, and discuss central ideas. 

Designed for children reading at a middle-school level or above, students

  • Move beyond comprehension into critical thinking while reading three thematically connected, age-appropriate books of increasing difficulty
  • Participate in online written discussions with gifted classmates from Boston to Beijing
  • Post writing assignments such as alternate story endings and talk shows with characters as guests
  • Learn sophisticated vocabulary words and literary devices with the help of online games and puzzles
  • Receive individualized written feedback from their instructor about each lesson's work.

The two courses in the Young Readers' Series for Verbal and/or Math qualifiers for Grades 4 and 5 include the same level of challenging books, creative writing, and critical thinking as the traditional Young Readers Series. What’s new is that In Search Of and The Right Stuff include both nonfiction and fiction readings, are open to both verbal and/or math qualifiers, and many assignments allow students to use and create multimedia content with web 2.0 tools such as VoiceThread and more. Some assignments include short videos and others will require internet research for students to find additional images, documents, and other free media to complete writing and multimedia assignments.

Parents Ask...
 

  • Students typically read and share written responses every other day (fall, spring, and early summer sessions) or daily (midsummer intensive session).
  • Work is posted in the virtual classrooms at the student’s convenience as long as each lesson's deadlines are met.
  • It does not matter whether a student has already read one or all of the books before the course begins because the emphasis on citing the text requires careful re-reading.
  • Students must already be proficient in Standard Written English. [Instructors discuss grammar only when it affects meaning.]
  • An optional, free, self-graded, 20- question readiness assessment is available.
  • These critical reading courses are designed to be ungraded, enrichment courses; instead of a grade, instructors provide specific feedback about each student's work at the end of each lesson and a detailed final evaluation at the end of the course. Parents or guardians may request a final grade if needed for school credit

About Course Selection

Parents are encouraged to consider the information contained in Appropriateness, Look inside the books, and Read reviews for the books before deciding on the course that would be most interesting and appropriate for their child.

Appropriateness

Parents should be aware that each theme contains books with humor,  mystery, adventure, and heroism as well as suspense and sadness. Overall, while our courses contain advanced grade-level material, we strive to select materials appropriate to the ages of the students. Please look inside the books and read reviews to decide whether these books are appropriate for your child. If you are still uncertain whether your child is ready for a course, please email ctyonline@jhu.edu or call 410-735-6144. 

Look inside the books.

Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart [Inside the book is not available]
The London Eye Mystery
The Time Travelers [also known as Gideon the Cutpurse]

Read reviews.  Parents are urged to review for appropriate content.

Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart
The London Eye Mystery
The Time Travelers [also known as Gideon the Cutpurse]

Materials Needed

  • Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart (Schwartz & Wade, 2011) ISBN 0375841989
  • The London Eye Mystery (Yearling, 2009) ISBN 0385751842
  • The Time Travelers [also known as Gideon the Cutpurse] (Simon & Schuster, 2007) ISBN 1416915265

Detailed Course Information

Course Details

Lesson 1: Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart

Begin reading Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart
Vote your Opinion in the Poll
Post ONE of the blog assignments (your choice) to the Blog forum
Contribute two (or more) thoughtful posts to the Discussion Board

Lesson 2: Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart

Finish reading The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart
Vote your Opinion in the Poll
Post ONE of the blog assignments (your choice) to the Blog forum
Contribute two (or more) thoughtful posts to the Discussion Board questions.

Lesson 3: The London Eye Mystery

Begin reading The London Eye Mystery
Vote your Opinion in the Poll
Post ONE of the blog assignments (your choice) to the Blog forum
Contribute two (or more) thoughtful posts to the Discussion Board

Lesson 4: The London Eye Mystery

Continue reading The London Eye Mystery
Vote your Opinion in the Poll
Post ONE of the blog assignments (your choice) to the Blog forum
Contribute two (or more) thoughtful posts to the Discussion Board

Lesson 5: The London Eye Mystery

Finish reading The London Eye Mystery
Vote your Opinion in the Poll
Post ONE of the blog assignments (your choice) to the Blog forum
Contribute two (or more) thoughtful posts to the Discussion Board

Lesson 6: The Time Travelers

Begin reading The Time Travelers
Vote your Opinion in the Poll
Post ONE of the blog assignments (your choice) to the Blog forum
Contribute two (or more) thoughtful posts to the Discussion Board

Lesson 7: The Time Travelers

Continue reading The Time Travelers
Vote your Opinion in the Poll
Post ONE of the blog assignments (your choice) to the Blog forum
Contribute two (or more) thoughtful posts to the Discussion Board

Lesson 8: The Time Travelers

Continue reading The Time Travelers
Vote your Opinion in the Poll
Post ONE of the blog assignments (your choice) to the Blog forum
Contribute two (or more) thoughtful posts to the Discussion Board

Lesson 9: The Time Travelers

Finish reading The Time Travelers
Vote your Opinion in the Poll
Contribute two (or more) thoughtful posts to the Discussion Board
Contribute two thoughtful posts to the Summary Discussion Board

Lesson 10: Summary Assignments covering all three books

Vote your opinion in the Poll
Post ONE of the Blog assignments (your choice) to the Blog forum.
Complete the Literary Terms Quest [Quest=More questions than a quiz, but fewer questions than most tests!]
Note: You are provided with a list of “Mind-Expanding Vocabulary Words” from each book that you can use to help better understand the book and increase your knowledge of vocabulary words in general.

OPTIONAL--Not required--Fun and Challenges:

  • Prepare for the Literary Terms Quest by playing the online Literary Terms games and puzzles.
  • Share your favorite stories and authors with other students in the Recommended Reading Wiki.
  • Print out and work on the crossword puzzles that have been provided to help reinforce your knowledge of the "mind-expanding" vocabulary words.
  • Use the Vocabulary Words Review Games to help learn the vocabulary words in a fun way.
  • Participate in the In Search Of Adventure Wiki, a group writing activity

Time Required

This course requires approximately three hours for each of the ten lessons. Students should expect to spend approximately 3 hours per week during the course.

Note: Students do not have to meet in the classroom at the same time. A student's written work can be posted in the virtual classroom at the student's convenience as long as deadlines are met.

About Summer Sessions:

The Young Readers' Series offers a 12-week summer session that allows families to take a week or two of vacation and 10-week sessions. All sessions cover the same course material and assignments.

While the 12-week early summer session courses allow for 2 weeks total vacation, students in the Young Readers’ courses are encouraged to work ahead or make up their work to try to keep up with their classmates whenever possible. Experience has shown that these courses are most fun when all students are working on the same lesson. Students must notify the instructor at the course's start about any planned vacation dates and must meet scheduled due dates when they are not on vacation. [Students who make up their work can finish their early summer course in 10 weeks.]

If you have any questions, please contact us before applying at ctyonline@jhu.edu.

Sample Assignment

Demo

In Search Of Sample Assignment

To give you an idea of the type of assignments involved, the following is the first of ten lessons:

Instructions for Lesson One

All work is due by the following Sunday at midnight. (That's the end of Sunday, not the beginning!) This means that your assigned reading should be started early and completed by Thursday night--at the latest--to allow you enough time to finish all the assignments (reading, poll, blog, discussion forum, and optional games, crossword puzzles, and wikis) by Sunday night.

1. Study the Syllabus at the top of the homepage and view videos about the mysterious disappearance of Earhart's plane.

2. Begin reading Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart by Candace Fleming, preferably reading in the following reading chunks:

Pages viii-14

Pages 15-26

Pages 27-43

Pages 44-61

3. Vote your opinion in the Poll.

4. Post ONE of the following blog assignments (your choice) to the Blog forum:

a. Pretend you are a magazine reporter in the late 1920's or early-1930's and write a 100-300+ word human interest article about Amelia Earhart including quotes obtained from your interviews with Neta Snook and/or Thea Rasche. Both women pilots have shared their honest opinions regarding Amelia Earhart and her flying experience. [As a reporter, your point of view should be that of an observer, not a participant, so the article should be written in the 3rd person, except for the 1st person quotations from Neta Snook /Thea Rasche. It would be a good idea to review the Helpful Hints for Writing Articles and Editorials flipbook or pdf found on the homepage.]

b) Pretend that you are Amelia Earhart and write a 100-300+ word letter to Amy Guest (whom you have never met) explaining your desire to be the first woman to fly across the Atlantic and assuring her that you understand the risks involved.

c) As a teenager, Amelia created an Activities for Women Scrapbook describing occupations that would be good choices for women in the early 20th Century. Using your imagination, create a PowerPoint or some other slide show or online bulletin board displaying your own Activities for 21st Century Women describing occupations that would be good choices for women today. [For ideas, check out the Web 2.0 Tool Glossary or the CTY Guide to Web 2.0 Tools, both found in the top section of the homepage, which contains descriptions of web tools such as Photopeach, Animoto, or a Linoit online bulletin board as well as how-to videos.]

CLICK HERE TO BEGIN BLOGGING: Blog

5. Contribute two (or more) thoughtful posts to the Discussion Board in response to any of the following questions. (Remember! At least one of your two thoughtful posts should be in reply to a discussion post made by another student.)

a) 
Why the passionate interest in the fate of Amelia Earhart and her plane? 
Before reading the book about Amelia Earhart's life and disappearance, view  the 1937 video about Earhart disappearing over the Pacific and then the two recent videos and accompanying articles speculating that there might finally be an answer to the puzzle of what happened to Earhart's plane almost 80 years ago. Why do you think that the fate of Earhart and her plane is so compelling that people are still spending time and money trying to solve the mystery? Do you think that people will still be interested in Earhart's life if her plane is finally found? Why or why not?
 
b) Who really heard Amelia? According to the author, quite a number of people claimed to have heard transmissions from Amelia or her navigator Fred while authorities were searching for their plane. Do you find any of them more believable than others? Explain. What investigation do you think a governmental official or a newspaper reporter should do before concluding that a person really had heard Amelia or Fred? Why would anyone lie about hearing a transmission from one of them? Do you think it likely that some of the people believed that they heard a transmission but were honestly mistaken? Explain.
 
c) Amelia's story. The author asserts in "Navigating History" (viii) that Amelia made up the story about when she first saw an airplane. Did the author's evidence convince you that Amelia intentionally lied when she told the story? Is there any other research that the author could have or should have done before asserting that Amelia lied? Can you think of any explanation (other than an intentional lie) for Amelia's seemingly inaccurate story that the first time she saw an airplane was at the Iowa State Fair in 1908? Explain. Does the author's claim affect your opinion of Amelia Earhart? Why or why not? Do you think that the author wanted the reader to dislike or distrust Amelia Earhart because she didn't always tell the truth? What point was the author trying to make by starting her book with this controversy?
 
d) Rules of conduct. "The rules of female conduct...bewildered and annoyed" Amelia (8). How have times changed? Do you think that there are still different rules of conduct for young girls and boys? Explain. What rules of conduct are you expected to follow?
 
e) Amelia's childhood. Compare and contrast Amelia's childhood described in the chapter "Little Amelia 1897-1908" (pages 6-12) with your childhood. Can you think of any possible advantages to a childhood before movies, television, and the internet were invented? If you were a child in the early 20th Century, would you be the type who would experience a "special glee" in putting on bloomers, or do you think you would be more like the neighborhood children who were shocked at the sight of a female wearing something other than a dress? [Be honest, now!]

f) Vice and virtues. It seems that the author tried to provide a balanced picture of Amelia, and she wrote about Amelia's good qualities and her not so admirable ones. Review the first half of the book to find examples of times when the author provides evidence of either the good or not so good characteristics of Amelia.
 
g) Opinions about Amelia. Although Amelia Earhart is now viewed as a heroine, opinions about her before her disappearance were often mixed, and many people criticized her desire to attract attention. Do you think she went too far to attract publicity, or do you think that publicity was necessary to be able to afford such things as owning her own airplanes? How do you think that Thea Rasche felt about Amelia after the September, 1927 incident described at the end of the chapter "First Flight 1920-1927" (42-43)?

CLICK HERE TO BEGIN DISCUSSION: Forums

Note: You are provided with a list of “Mind-Expanding Vocabulary Words from Amelia Lost” that you can use to help better understand the book and increase your knowledge of vocabulary words in general.

OPTIONAL--Not required--Fun and Challenges:

  • Share your favorite stories and authors with other students in the Recommended Reading Wiki.
  • Participate in the In Search Of Adventure Wiki, a group writing activity.
  • Play Literary Terms Review games.
  • Print out and work on the crossword puzzles that have been provided to help reinforce your knowledge of the "mind-expanding" vocabulary words.

Technical Requirements

This course requires a properly maintained computer with high-speed internet access and an up-to-date web browser (such as Chrome or Firefox). The student must be able to communicate with the instructor via email. Visit the Technical Requirements and Support page for more details.

This course requires that the student use a web browser with the Adobe Flash plugin. Note that many tablets and handhelds (particularly the iPad) do not support Flash and cannot view the lessons.

 

Reviews
 

"This class was perfect for our child! It completely reversed a slide into boredom with her normal school work. She loved the books. She loved receiving feedback from the instructor. And, she really enjoyed the interaction with other students. It took her critical reading skills and writing to a whole new level. This class was a "game changing" experience for our child. Thank you." 
 
"The instructor was stellar and on top of everything -- reminders, grading and appropriate comments and feedback.  Our daughter learned so much!!  We look forward to signing her up for another course in the future."
 
"My child has been writing up a storm and been critically thinking about books."
 
"This course helped me so much. And I really think I improved in writing over the summer. This course also helped me to realize how much I loved reading and writing." 
 
"My child loved this course. The professor was outstanding and always promptly responded to my child's questions."
 
"When my instructor gave feedback on my writing, she always asked deep questions about the subject. This made me move on to a whole new level of thinking. Also, because of these questions, I gained more love of the subject and I want to read more of these types of books."
 
"We were very pleased with the depth of the course content. The organization, thoroughness and timeliness of the instructor's feedback on homework assignments was outstanding!" 
 
"The instructor provided concrete, candid feedback to my daughter every week that she could use to improve her reading comprehension and writing skills. She also learned to interact in an online virtual classroom very professionally and tactfully when responding to other students. My daughter cannot wait to take more CTY online courses in Humanities. Her writing skills greatly improved over the summer as did her speed and reading comprehension."
 
"My son's instructor for this class was very accessible and absolutely lovely to deal with. A terrific 1st CTY experience for him as well as us!"
 
"I loved seeing my daughter read, read, read. She then improved her comprehension and writing skills tremendously through the tools provided in this course. She is now reading the sequels to the last book she read in this course."
 
"I liked the course, and I learnt a lot. Before I always thought I was bad at writing and it helped me discover that I wasn't as bad as I thought. I enjoyed reading the feedback especially because I like seeing someone's opinion on what I did well, so I can use the same technique, and what I need to work on, so I can work at those areas."