Two more puzzles to solve with Dan Parks, the teenage detective

Dan Parks, the teenage detective is back with two more stories to tell. Who is Dan Parks? And what are his stories about? Our ‘Dan the Detective’ series is a collection of original, illustrated stories about a teenage would-be detective, who happens upon and finds solutions for mysterious crime cases. He is accompanied by his friend, Sue Barrington, and more often than not their investigations get them into trouble before they manage to catch the criminals.

The stories are available in three levels (Levels 1, 2 and 3 in our Red Fiction series) covering  CEF A1 and A2 levels (Breakthrough and Waystage), and there are now two titles at each level. You can find more information about the language structures included at each level in the front of each book.

Each story is self-contained, and as such can be enjoyed on its own. But they are also part of a seriesof books, which makes them a great resource for language learning. Once your students get to like Dan and Sue, they will have six stories to explore amd compare.

Please read more about the first four readers in this series in our post Are you a serial reader? Meet Dan Parks, the teenage detective.

The stories were written by Richard MacAndrew and illustrated by Giulia Sagramola and Lorenzo Sabbatini. The readers were edited by Frances Mariani.

Now let’s see some features of the two new stories in the series.

Dan and the Stolen Bikes

When Sue’s bike is stolen one evening in Oxford,  Dan decides to do something. He creates a Facebook page  called Oxford Bike Finders and soon lots of  people are contacting him with information. Then one day, one of Dan’s followers sees a bike being stolen and Dan and Sue decide  to follow the thieves. What happens when they find the thieves  and can they get Sue’s bike back?

Dan in London

Dan and Sue are in London with their parents when they see two men acting in a very strange way outside their hotel. They decide to follow them and find out that the men are stealing handbags. What happens when the men discover that Dan and Sue know their secret? And what can their parents do to help? Join Dan and Sue in London and find out.

What features of the readers can you build on in the classroom?

Dan and the Stolen Bikes

  • You will talk about bikes. Your students who like cycling will definitely love the story.
  • You will explore a new city, Oxford. You will study the map of the city, and you will learn about its history through a quiz in the Before Reading section, and learn more about it as a tourist in the After Reading Project.
  • You will learn about online safety and bike safety through quizzes and discussion activities.
  • You will also learn more about different social media platforms and how they can be used.

Dan in London 

  • In this book you will explore London, and find ways of travelling around the city.
  • You will learn about the Tube, and do a quiz about the city.
  • In the After Reading Project you will read a tourist brochure.
  • Here you will also do language activities, read and talk about the topics in the dicussion boxes, and do a number of  comprehension and language development tasks.

How are the texts organised?

As every reader in our Red and Blue series, these books also have language and cultural activities in the before and after reading sections. You will find vocabulary, grammar, speaking, listening, writing and reading activities.

Dan and the Stolen Bikes

An original feature of this book is that it includes different modes of communication, many of which your students are familiar with and engage in on a daily basis. There is a map of Oxford, a chart of the characters, a focus on social media and online safety, some elements of the story are told through Facebook pages, Facebook Messenger chats and Twitter tweets. The story unfolds through these elements, just as our daily lives are a blend of conversations, private thought and various social media.

Dan in London

This is a more ‘traditionally’ told story which focuses on a joint family holiday to London. Some of the issues it raises are safety in an urban context, obedience and autonomy. Students who have visited the British capital will recognise many landmarks and the story can be used as a way of familiarising the students with the city.

Classroom tip

We recommend starting with the general discussion and introductory activities in the Before Reading activity, then browsng the book to predict what it might be about. Then just let your students enjoy the story! You can work on the After Reading activities together or choose some which you would definitely ask them to do in class, either in pairs or groups.

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