Teaching Students About “The Colorado Kid”: Engaging a New Generation in Classic Mystery


As educators, it’s essential to introduce students to diverse genres and styles in literature. One exciting way to spark children’s interest is by examining engaging mystery stories, such as “The Colorado Kid” by Stephen King. This classic whodunit tale allows educators to employ various teaching methods that not only broaden students’ literary horizons but also help develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Plot Overview

“The Colorado Kid,” published in 2005, is a mystery novel that revolves around an unexplained death on a small island off the coast of Maine. The story is narrated by two seasoned newspapermen, who recount the details of the case to their young intern, Stephanie McCann. They explore events leading up to and following the discovery of the unidentified man’s body over 20 years ago. Despite their investigative efforts and those of local law enforcement at the time, the case remains unsolved, leaving readers on edge until the final page.

Engaging Teaching Strategies

1. Debating Perspectives: Encourage students to participate in group discussions or debates that represent different interpretations of characters or plot points. Have one group argue in favor of an individual character as the killer while another opposes this viewpoint.

2. Exploring Themes: Ask students to identify prevalent themes such as love, betrayal, and redemption throughout the novel. Engage them in discussions about why these themes are timeless and essential components of storytelling.

3. Analyzing Writing Styles: “The Colorado Kid” departs from King’s characteristic horror style to delve into the realm of mystery and suspense. Have students contrast this work with his other novels and determine what aspects contribute towards creating an aura of suspenseful storytelling.

4. Creative Extensions: Assign specific characters or scenes to groups of students who can then create visual or verbal representations illustrating these components from the story.

5. Encouraging Critical Thinking: Invite students to consider how they would solve the mystery of “The Colorado Kid,” proposing clues or connections that could have been overlooked by the characters themselves.

6. Roleplaying: Have students act out key scenes from the story, allowing them to explore characters’ motivations, feelings, and behaviors. This strategy promotes empathy and a deeper understanding of the story’s complexities.


Introducing “The Colorado Kid” in the classroom provides educators with a unique opportunity to engage students in an exciting genre while simultaneously building essential critical thinking and problem-solving skills. By employing various teaching strategies and capitalizing on students’ interest in mystery, we can inspire a love for literature that will stay with them for years to come.