Let me first say..... WE LOVED THIS BOOK!!!
It takes a couple chapters to get into it but once you do, if you like a good mystery, then you are hooked!
I borrowed three of the same books (same publisher, same publishing date) from our local library. I chose this book because my kids love to watch mystery-type shows and thought they would enjoy a good mystery. I also chose this book because I already had a workbook to do while reading the book. You can buy it here: The Westing Game . There are sales throughout the year and I think I bought it on one of the "pay what you want" sales they have every couple months.
I printed out the workbook pages for the kids and put it in a folder with those three prongs in it. This way it wasn't in their regular English notebook. It was special. I also created bookmarks for the kids with their name on the top of it so we could see whose book was whose from the bookmark. The bookmark also had a picture of the book and on the back had special vocabulary. Actually if I were to do this again I would have put the list of characters on the back. Throughout the book it can be a bit confusing who is who. It would have been helpful to have a basic character sketch on the back of the bookmark. (I hadn't read the book when I created the bookmark).
We cruised right along with reading the introduction and about the author prior to beginning the novel. We talked about the time period and that they didn't have ready access to computers, no internet, and no cell phones.
As we read we discussed the clues and discussed the characters. The kids were assigned the workbook work as they read as well. After a while we gave up on the "before you read" pages and focused on the while you read and after you read pages. By the end, we gave up on the questions all together and just discussed the questions together aloud. We did focus on vocabulary though (as this was what my kids needed) and created a "murder board" on our white board. (read below for why)
With a bit more research on the book since we finished it, I found this awesome document that gives great study questions and chapter vocabulary. Beware, it automatically downloads to your computer and takes Microsoft Word to open. It is worth the download.
Here is another one that gives space for answers but has no vocabulary. It is all short answer questions.
There are so many characters and clues that it can be hard to keep up with. We ended up creating a "murder board" on our white board with the clues, characters, etc. The kids created what they needed to keep track. However, I found this great graphic for organizing all the information,
I also found an excellent, inciteful character list (don't read it if you don't want to know who wins until you read the book).
Let me know how you all like this book. :)