Open to: Grades 2-3
Eligibility: CTY-level or Advanced CTY-level verbal score required
Course Length: 10 weeks (Early Fall, Late Fall, Winter, Spring) or 12 weeks (Early Summer, Mid-Summer)
Course Code: YYMS
Everyone loves a good mystery! Things are not always what they first seem: Sometimes tragic accidents turn out to be murder, and it is hard to know whom you can trust. With settings that vary from a 19th Century London circus to a modern African wild animal preserve, the three books include danger, fantasy, suspense, sadness, and adventure. The White Giraffe by Lauren St. John, The Puzzling World of Winston Breen by Eric Berlin, and Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars (The Fall of the Amazing Zalindas) by Tracy Mack and Michael Citrin.
The Young Readers' Series is designed to enhance a student's critical reading, writing, and thinking skills. Designed 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 5th grade level or above, students enrolled in the Young Readers' Series for Grades 2 and 3:
Parents are encouraged to consider the information contained in About Readability and Appropriateness, Look inside the books, and Read the reviews for the books before deciding on the course that would be most interesting and appropriate for their child.
The easiest method to check readability for your child is the “Five Finger Rule.” Have the child begin reading aloud any page of a book at random and raise your finger each time he or she struggles with a word. If your child reaches the end of the page before you have raised five fingers, your child should be able to read the book independently.
CTY Online Programs simplifies this informal assessment by linking to pages of almost every book in the Look inside the books section. Please perform this “Five Finger Rule” assessment on the last or next to last book of any course you are considering.
Parents should be aware that each course 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 email@example.com.
Look inside The White Giraffe
Look inside Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars (The Fall of the Amazing Zalindas)
Look inside The Puzzling World of Winston Breen
This course does not have any synchronous class meetings, but students may schedule one-on-one virtual meetings directly with the instructor to answer questions or concerns.
Videos from YouTube or other web providers may be present in the course. Video recommendations or links provided at end of videos are generated by the video host provider and are not CTY recommendations.
Unit 1: The White Giraffe
Unit 2: The White Giraffe
Unit 3: Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars [The Fall of the Amazing Zalindas]
Unit 4: Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars [The Fall of the Amazing Zalindas]
Unit 5: Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars [The Fall of the Amazing Zalindas]
Unit 6: The Puzzling World of Winston Breen
Unit 7: The Puzzling World of Winston Breen
Unit 8: The Puzzling World of Winston Breen
Unit 9: The Puzzling World of Winston Breen
Unit 10: Summary Assignments covering all three books
Note: You are provided with a list of 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 Fun and Challenges:
This course requires approximately three hours for each of the ten units. Students should expect to spend approximately 3 hours per week during the course.
Students who are two or more units behind in their work will not receive course completion documents.
Note: Classes are not live. 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 12-week summer sessions that allow families to take a week or two of vacation and 10-week sessions. Both sessions cover the same course material and assignments.
While the 12-week 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 unit. 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 summer course in 10 weeks.
If you have any questions, please contact us before applying at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To give you an idea of the type of assignments involved, the following is the first of ten units:
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, Quiz, Poll, Writing Assignment, and Discussion Posts) by Sunday night.
1. Begin reading The White Giraffe in the following chunks:
Chapters 1-3 (pages 1-21)
Chapters 4-7 (pages 22-45)
Chapters 8-10 (pages 46-66)
Chapters 11-13 (pages 67-94)
2. Read the pages above and then take this self-graded Quiz.
Directions: Read the pages listed above for this unit before taking this self-graded quiz. If you don’t know an answer, refer to your book. To answer the last two questions, count how many questions you answered correctly without referring to the book. Feel free to click on the links to learn the definitions of literary terms such as “inference,” “simile,” “alliteration,” and “onomatopoeia.”
3. Vote your opinion in the Poll.
4. Post ONE of the following writing assignments to the Writing Forum:
a) Pretend you are Miss Grace and write a 50-250 word letter to Gwyn Thomas about Martine. Do you--as Miss Grace--want to tell Martine's grandmother that you are convinced that the girl has "the gift?" What suggestions would you make about how to treat Martine and what to tell her about her mother?
b) Pretend you are Lucy or some other member of the Five Star Gang who went on the class trip and you want to make sure that the teachers at the school learn about your version of what happened at the Botanical Gardens before they hear about events from Martine's perspective. As Lucy -- or some other Five Star Gang member who went on the class trip -- write a 50-250 word letter to Miss Volkner letting her know your side of the story.
5. Contribute two (or more) thoughtful posts to the Discussion Forum in response to any of the following topics. (Remember! At least one of these two thoughtful posts should be in reply to a discussion post made by another student.)
a) The letter from grandmother. In Chapter 2, Martine reads the letter from her grandmother, and she is bothered by it. There is something in the tone of the letter that doesn’t sit right with Martine. What do you think of the tone of the letter that Gwyn Thomas sends to social services in England? Based on the letter, what kind of person do you expect Martine's grandmother to be? Do you think Martine is right to be concerned?
b) The Caracal School. From what you learn in Chapter 7, what do you think of Caracal School? What do you like about Martine's new school? What do you dislike about it? Do you think you would make friends there? Would you want to attend this school? Why or why not?
c) Friendship with Ben. From the description of Ben given in Chapter 7, why do you think Martine made up her mind to try to befriend Ben? Would you have wanted to become Ben's friend? Are you surprised or disappointed that Martine ended up not pursuing friendship with Ben?
d) The mystery of Martine's mother. Why do you think there is such an air of secrecy surrounding Martine’s mother? Can you imagine any good reason that Gwyn Thomas might have for refusing to talk about Veronica or her childhood days on the game reserve? [Spoiler Alert: Do not base your discussion on anything that you may have learned by reading beyond Chapter 13 (page 94)!]
e) Tendai's scars. Martine is horrified by the scars on Tendai's back and his story about the man who had whipped him. Does Tendai's story about what life was like for black people in South Africa during his youth sound believable? Is there any reason to hope that things are now different for black people in present day South Africa? Do you know of any other place in the world where people are treated badly for reasons as inconsequential as the color of their skin?
f) Martine's day with Tendai in the reserve. Even though Martine is disturbed when Alex shoots the kudu, she also experiences other emotions about the event. Describe her many different reactions and feelings during her day with Tendai in the reserve described in Chapter 13.
Note: You are provided with a list of vocabulary words from The White Giraffe 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:
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.
"It is refreshing and motivating for my daughter to read the instructor's specific remarks (She is accustomed to receiving "good" as the sole comment on her efforts!)."
"The instructor was extremely attentive and very encouraging. We thoroughly enjoyed working with her this summer. She was able to direct my son in such a positive way and leave him empowered to dig deeper into his thinking and writing based on what he read. He was always left more inspired to read more and write more after he read her constructive and encouraging words each week. My husband and I were extremely impressed by the caliber of this course (our very first CTY Online Programs ever!)."
"I really liked how my instructor gave me detailed feedback, which helped me improve further each week. She was very approachable (albeit via email). I can tell she enjoys teaching and is very kind. I've learned to analyze books in more depth and write thoughtful discussions."
"The instructor’s feedback and instruction have increased my daughter's confidence with regard to her writing skills. My daughter is expressing a strong desire to become an author and wants to continue learning more about writing. She has always excelled in writing at school; however, after taking this course, her middle school teachers have commented on how much more advanced she is than others in her honors courses because of her style of writing."
"The feedback on the writing assignments was incredibly thorough and comprehensive. My son started the course and submitted disorganized work. The instructor's detailed commentary helped him to improve his work dramatically."
"The instructor provides positive feedback, individualized attention and tips that do not overwhelm the children. She motivated my child and gave her the confidence to express herself."
"My instructor's feedback was very helpful - always taking my thinking to a new level. She was thorough and asked good questions. She also was good at sending reminders regarding the work that was due. She made me a better writer and critical thinker. She taught me to ask more questions."
"The instructor’s feedback explained the strong and weak points in my work. She did this by first mentioning the things she liked, but she wasn't completely fussy, saying my work was amazing just to make me happy. Then, she would point out things I could improve. She does this not by yelling and screaming (you know what I mean), but pointing it out politely, but in a way that I could understand what to do. She was nice, but also challenges us. She was also particular not only about the contents of my writing, but about the spelling and grammar. Even though she challenged us, she also wasn't too hard. People do not learn when things are too easy. When things are too hard, their brains get confused and they don't learn either. My instructor wasn't too hard, but she wasn't too soft. She really was an outstanding teacher."
"Before I started my young readers’ course, I both disliked writing, and was bad at it. Whenever possible I avoided it. When I started my course with my instructor, I realized a talent for writing I never had before. As the course went on I realized I was actually getting impatient, waiting for the next lesson so I could write more. Before I thought of writing as a chore, the way most people think of school (not me!). Now I like to write and do it like it's something fun, which it is. My instructor taught me not only how to write, but also how to like to write."