Welcome to my sports literacy blog. Here you will find resources for educators as well as sports-related texts for middle and high school students. While many of these texts come from recommended lists from public libraries across the country, NCTE’s Assembly on Literature for Adolescents (ALAN), and respected educators, librarians, and authors, I cannot personally vouch for every text/resource on this list. Instead, my goal has been to provide relevant options for individuals interested in various aspects of sports literacy. My hope is that teachers and students alike will make informed decisions on the texts they read and the resources they utilize.
Why sports literacy? As Chris Crowe (2001) once noted, “Americans love sports, and we’re predisposed to like movies, stories, and books that deal with sports in interesting or creative ways. Sports culture permeates almost every aspect of contemporary society” (p. 129). Thus, as a sports lover myself, I can think of no better way to engage students in reading than by connecting literature to one of the most popular extracurricular interests of middle and high school students across the country.
Inevitably, the best of these novels offer well-developed characters facing common experiences and challenges pertinent to teen readers with sports merely providing the hook, backdrop, and/or setting. In the words of David Gorlewski, co-editor of English Journal, “Sports, like any social endeavor, can provide a prism through which to view human nature and explore the experiences of young adults.” My hope is that the stories and resources found on this blog might prove useful for teachers and students in just this manner.
For more information on examining sports and culture in the English classroom, take a look at this 2014 themed issue of English Journal as well as this list of recommended resources. If you are more interested in sports and young adult literature, pick up a copy of the spring/summer 2016 issue of SIGNAL Journal, including my article “Young Adult [Sports] Literature: Looking Back and Moving Forward.” To hear more about the upcoming edited book, Developing Contemporary Literacies through Sports, check out this interview with Education Talk Radio.
I have tried to incorporate as great a variety of texts/genres as possible to meet the needs of secondary students of various ages, backgrounds, and genders, as well as students with diverse reading levels and extracurricular interests. To do so, I have pulled from authors both past and present and from resources old and new. I am constantly updating the site, so check back often.
Please note that all grade levels listed by individual texts are based on Amazon reviews from sources such as School Library Journal, BookList, etc. They do not necessarily represent my view of grade level appropriateness and should be considered with caution.
To find a list of texts for each sport, click on the tabs to the left (e.g., basketball) and then click the archived link under the same heading.
Key Search Terms: sports literacy, sports literature, young adult literature, out of school literacies, reading, writing, student-athletes, reluctant readers, YAL