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Create-Your-Own Close Reads with Mystery Pictures (Student Activity)

Your students have been doing Close Reads with Mystery Pictures for months, so now it is time for your students to Create-Your-Own Close Reads with Mystery Pictures with these FREE templates!

Student Activity: Create-Your-Own Close Read with Mystery Pictures

You’ve been collecting them for awhile, haven’t you?

Yes. I’m talking to you.

You know who you are.

You are a Close Read collector, and you have collected every Close Reads with Mystery Picture set that Fun in 5th Grade has ever created.

May Close Reads…have them.

Superhero-themed…got it.

President’s Day…”don’t make me laugh.”

Cinco De Mayo…been there. Done that. Rocked it. 

You scoured the 12 Months of Close Reads blog post searching for that one set that you haven’t yet added to your collection, but there wasn’t a single one that you didn’t already have sitting queued up in your Google Drive.

Our Gift to You –

Create-Your-Own Close Reads Student Activity

We know upper elementary teachers love creative activities that challenge your students while giving them opportunities to be creative, but you already have all of our Close Reads with Mystery Pictures, so now what?


What can we give the teacher who has everything?

How about a FREE Create-Your-Own Close Read activity for students!!!

Yep. After months of reading those close reads and solving those Mystery Pictures, we believe students are ready to conquer the creation monster. 

It is time to take a break from consuming and become a creator!

How does it work?

Well, first, you need to download the resource! Then follow the instructions to Create-Your-Own Close Reads!

Step #1: Find a Passage

Students will begin by finding a passage they will use to create their comprehension questions. An easy way to do this is to guide students to sites that have student passages. To differentiate, encourage advanced students to write their own passages based off an area of interest.

Step#2: Create Questions

Students will read the passage and record possible questions. Their goal is to have 10 questions. We have some ideas for helping students to vary their questions in the Suggestions/Variations section below.

Step #3: Plan the Picture

Next, students will plan their mystery picture. Make sure to print extra copies of the mystery picture template, so students can try different ways of ‘pixelating’ their pictures. If students get stuck, consider having them search ‘pixel art’ for whatever picture they want to use. The images provided by the Google machine, will help them get started.

Step #4: Contemplate Colors

Students will assign each number (1-10) to a color. They can use the same color for more than one number if the picture has fewer than 10 colors. (For example, the black outline may be created from questions number 2, 5, and 6.)

Step #5: Assign Colors

Write the questions on the question page template and assign color choices to the answers. The color the student assigned to that number will be the color assigned to the ‘correct’ answer, and the incorrect answers will be assigned different colors.

Step #6: Final Copy!

Finalize the plan, and start creating the final version! Students will want to test their Mystery Pictures a couple times to make sure that the answers and colors all work correctly. Consider having individual pair up to check each other’s work to make sure that everything is set up correctly.

Student Activity: Create-Your-Own Close Read with Mystery Picture

Step #7: Make Copies and Share

Finally, let’s share our work with others in the class. Spend a day or two exchanging copies of the students’ close read creations and enjoy their awesome work!


This is a great activity for the end of the year after students have spent the year working through many of our other Close Reads with Mystery Pictures. It is fun to see how students view the passages, and you will be able to quickly assess their reading comprehension based on the types of questions they come up with.

  • Letting students work in partners will vary up the work and allow the whole project to move more quickly.
  • Provide students with question types. Maybe you want them to create a question based on text-structure or figurative language or characterization. Provide them with lists of examples to help them vary the types of questions they include in their design.
  • Have students create passages based off of other topics you studied earlier in the year.
  • Exchange the students’ Close Read with Mystery Pictures with other classes.
  • Keep some of the really good student-created close reads for use in your classroom in the years to come. Don’t forget to have the students sign their art!!
  • Assign the passages students will create the questions and pictures for. See if you can get a good variety of pictures for the same passages.
  • Have struggling students recreate one of our Close Reads with Mystery Pictures from earlier in the year. They can come up with new questions and a new picture by using our example as a model. This could leave you with a new level of differentiation for that passage! Win-Win!

We hope that you enjoy this gift from us as you end your school year. If you don’t have time this year, make sure to download the Create-Your-Own Mystery Picture Activity now, and put it on your list of things to do for next spring!

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