Recommended Resources: A Collection of Lesson Planning Ideas across Content Areas

Posted: 10/09/2011 by alando1423 in Recommended Resources: A Collection of Lesson Planning Ideas across Content Areas

Click the “Recommended Resources” link above to find useful resources for utilizing sports in the secondary ELA classroom.  Enjoy!


Edited Book

Developing Contemporary Literacies through Sports: A Guide for the English Classroom


Edited by Alan Brown and Luke Rodesiler (2016)

Publisher: NCTE Books

Interview with Editors Alan Brown and Luke Rodesiler: Education Talk Radio

Honoring Students’ Interests in Sports to Support Literacy Learning: NCTE Blog Posts by Luke Rodesiler and Alan Brown

Seminar on Critical Literacy on the Intersections of Sport and Society: Live Web Seminar Thursday, February 23, 2017

“Sports and YA: Introducing an Approach to Using Sports Literature in the Classroom and a Text Full of Advice” by Dawan Coombs – YA Wednesday Blog

Themed Issue of English Journal

A Whole New Ballgame: Sports and Culture in the English Classroom

Volume 104, Number 1, September 2014

Guest Editors: Alan Brown and Chris Crowe

Interviews with Alan Brown on the topic of Sports Literacy

TheStagazine (Volume 1): Interview by Dr. Bryan Ripley Crandall (see p. 3)

Education Talk Radio: Interview with Alan Brown and Luke Rodesiler

Sports-Related Lesson Plans/Resources

Sports Literature Syllabi & Programs

Paisley IB Magnet School Sports Literacy Program – Alan Brown & Wendell Dunn (Wake Forest University)

Southwest Guilford High School Sports Literacy Program – Alan Brown & Jordan Daniels (Wake Forest University)

Honoring Students’ Interests in Sports to Support Literacy Learning – Alan Brown (Wake Forest University)

Building a Sports Literacy Program by Connecting Students and Authors at Newnan High School (GA) – Teacher: Kelli Sowerbrower (NCTE 2016)

Literacy4Hope by Bryan Ripley Crandall (Fairfield University, NCTE 2014)

The Literature of Sport at Scituate High School (MA) – Teacher: Jessica Maguire

Sports Fiction at Mary Washington University – Instructor: Teresa Kennedy

Sports in Literature at The University of Western Ontario – Instructor: Don Morrow

Sports Literature at Nashoba Regional High School (MA) – Teacher: Stephen Kendall

Sports Literature at East Greenwich High School (RI) – Teacher: Marc Brocato

Sports Literature at Iola-Scaninavia High School (WI) – Teacher: Terrell Bonnell

Sports Literature at Tewksbury Memorial High School (MA) – Teacher: Andrew Bellistri

Sports Literature at Timberline High School (WA) – Teacher: Daniel Hardebeck

Sports Literature at Trine University (IN) – Instructor: Dr. Alison Witte

Sports Literature Classes at Southeast Missouri State University

Teaching Sports Literature – The Sport Literature Association

Critical Media Literacy & Social Justice Issues

Are Athletes Above the Law? Critical Examinations of Justice and Sports Culture by Caroline Howard (Salem Junior High School, Provo, UT; NCTE 2017)

Digital Media Literacy in a Sports, Popular Culture, and Literature Course by Carolyn Fortuna (The Journal of Media Literacy Education)

Forty  Forty Million Dollar Slaves: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of the Black Athlete by William C. Rhoden

Images of the Athlete: Sports and the Social Construction of Gender by David M. Pegram (Paradise Valley Community College; NCTE 2016)

Media Influence on Attitudes and Behaviors by Renee Hobbs (Media Education Lab)

Sports Stories and Critical Media Literacy by Mark A. Fabrizi and Robert D. Ford (English Journal)

Sporty Girls and Tomboys: Negotiating the Rhetoric and Images of Female Athletes by Crystal L. Beach (University of Georgia) and Katie Dredger (James Madison University)

Take a Knee: Studying Contemporary and Historical Protests in the ELA Classroom by Luke Rodesiler (Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne) and Alan Brown (Wake Forest University) (NCTE 2017)

Teach Media Literacy with Super Bowl Ads by Frank W. Baker (MiddleWeb)

Literature Study & Young Adult Literataure

#LitFit: The Essential Exercises for Optimizing Literacy Comprehension by Josh Flores (Oklahoma State Department of Education) and Lara Searcy (Northeastern State University) (NCTE 2017)

Addiction and Redemption in Smashed: Extending the Discussion of Teen Women and Sports by Melinda McBee Orzulak (Bradley University; NCTE 2014)

Articles of the Week by Kelly Gallagher

Boars and Baseball: Making Connections by Cathy Allen Simon (Urbana, Illinois; ReadWriteThink)

Boy21 Teaching Ideas by Carmen Bartley (Annandale High School, Annandale, VA) and Greg Bartley (Lee High School, Springfield, VA) (NCTE 2013)

Creating Literature Circles Using Sports Memoirs by Ryan Skardall (Wardlaw-Hartridge School, NJ; NCTE 2014)

Crossing Finish Lines: Engaging Students with Chris Crutcher’s Sports-Related Young Adult Literature by Caitlin Murphy (Collins High School, Louisville, KY) and Jennifer Bonafide (Langley High School, McLean, VA; NCTE 2013)

Defeating Stereotypes: The Multi-Dimensional Lives of Adolescent-Athletes in Young Adult Literature by Mark Lewis (Loyola University Maryland) and Luke Rodesiler (Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne) (NCTE 2017)

Family Matters: The Role of Family in Depictions of Minority Female Athletes in Children’s Literature by Rebekah May Degener (The Ohio State University; NCTE 2017)

Forging Character: The Intersection of Nature, Self, and Extreme Sports by Elizabeth G. Dinkins (Bellarmine University; NCTE 2016)

“From Politics to Pesonal Expression: Representations of Sport in Walter Dean Myers’ Young Adult Works” by Ray Schuck

Graphic Novels, Visual Literacy, and Baseball by David M. Pegram (Paradise Valley Community College; NCTE 2014)

If Only Holden Caulfield had been Stupid Fast: Promoting Critical Thinking through Active Imagination by Kelli Sowerbrower (Georgia State University) and Alan Brown (Wake Forest University) (NCTE 2013)

International Sport YAL in Practice: Consideration of Two Postcolonial Titles by Wendy Glenn (University of Connecticut, NCTE 2016)

Legend of Bagger Vance. (n.d.). Retrieved September 29, 2011 from the Human Science Wikia

Lizzie, Mamie, & Mo’ne: Connecting Gender, Race, and Baseball with Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy  by Alan Brown (Wake Forest University; NCTE 2017)

“More Than Sports Stories” Podcast from ReadWriteThink

Second Reaction: The Impact of Sports Literature on Adolescents and Young Adults – Robert Lipsyte’s The Contender by Alan Brown (Wake Forest University)

Teaching and Reading Guides for novels by Chris Crutcher

The Potential of Young Adult Sports Literature in Teaching Empathy at a Jesuit High School by Jayne Penn (YA Wednesday Blog)

Vaguely Literary by Sam Rubenstein (SLAM Magazine)

YA Sports Literature through a Positive Psychology Framework by Nicole Sieben (SUNY College at Old Westbury) and Alan Brown (Wake Forest University) (NCTE 2017)

Young Adult Literature: Sports Literature for Young Adults by Chris Crowe (JSTOR link)


A Poem of Possibilities: Thinking about the Future by Susanne Rubenstein (Princeton, MA; ReadWriteThink)

A Race with Grace: Sports Poetry in Motion by Maureen Carroll (Pleasanton, CA; ReadWriteThink)

Baseball Poetry and Songs (Baseball Almanac)

“Casey at the Bat” and Character Trading Cards

Diamante Poems (ReadWriteThink)

“Ex-Basketball Player” by John Updike

“LeBron James” by Nate Marshall (YouTube)

March madness poetry tournament (NCTE)

Poems for sports (

Poetry Madness: Kobe Edition by Adrienne Raphel (

Poetry Man by David Krell (National Baseball Hall of Fame)

“Take a Knee” by Kwame Alexander

The Poets’ Corner: Sports Poems

They “gallop terribly against each other’s bodies”: The Poetry of Sport by Heather Barto Wiley (RJ Reynolds High School, Winston-Salem, NC; NCTE 2017)

That Sounds Fun! Sound Words and Sports Poetry by Jamie R. Wood (Portland, OR; ReadWriteThink)

Swish! Pow! Whack! Teaching Onomatopoeia Through Sports Poetry by Ann Kelly Cox and Amanda Jenkins (Normal, IL; ReadWriteThink)

“Victory” by Sherman Alexie

“Wrestle the Great Fear: A Performance Poetica” by Jeff Kass


ESPN 30 for 30 Short on Jake by Alfred Slote

Girls in Basketball Texts: Representation, Resiliency, and Writing by Elizabeth Dinkins (Bellarmine University, NCTE 2014)

How Would You Change Your Favorite Sport? by Caroline Crosson Gilpin (The New York Times)

Model Essays, Sports, and Criticality: Examining the Everyday with Top Writers by Mitch Nobis (Seaholm High School, NCTE 2016)

Narrative, Argumentative, and Informative Writing about Baseball by Jonathan Olsen, Sarah Gross, and Katherine Schulten (The New York Times)

Student Athletes and Writing Transfer by Michael Rifenburg (NCTE Blog)

The Redemptive Power of Sports in the Classroom: A Tried-And-True Approach to Excellence in Essaying by Cherie Parsons (Malone University; NCTE 2017)

What Happens When Athletes Do the Sportswriting? by Amos Barshad (The New York Times)

Write Like This: Sports as a Vehicle for Real-World Writing by Jordan Daniels and Joan F. Mitchell (Wake Forest University; NCTE 2013)

Write Like This: Teaching Real World Writing through Modeling and Mentor Texts by Kelly Gallagher

See Kelly Gallagher’s lesson on Mentor Texts: Rick Reilly’s “A Tale of Two Little Leaguers” (p. 149)

Writing a Flashback and Flash-Forward Story Using Movies and Texts as Models by Michelle Kimbro (Oakwood, IL; ReadWriteThink)

Writing the Game: How Athletes and Coaches Use Writing by Rich Kent (University of Maine, NCTE 2014,

Zines for Kids: Multigenre Texts about Media Icons (ReadWriteThink, NCTE)


A Sports Rodin Works in Bronze, and in Volume by Zach Schonbrun (The New York Times)

Todd Marinovich’s Paintings (see also ESPN’s 30 for 30 on The Marinovich Project)


Rhetoric Friday by Randy Fair (Milton, GA; The New York Times)


Communication Arts: Going, Going, Gone (National Baseball Hall of Fame)

Research and Inquiry

Beyond Solo Pedestrian Reading: Group Inquiry and the Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner by Thomas C. Crocunis and Evan Hallman (Shippensburg University; NCTE 2014)

Debating the Issues in Sport: Creating Meaningful Discourse Using Topics in Race, Gender, Equity, and Health by Colleen Caulfield (Norwich Free Academy, Norwich, CT; NCTE 2017)

March Madness: Using Tournament Brackets to Debate Academic Questions (The New York Times)

Sports Opinionaire by Jeffrey Wilhelm (Boise State University, NCTE 2016)

The Year I Was Born: An Autobiographical Research Project by Patricia Schulze (Yankton, SD; ReadWriteThink)

What’s In a Name? by Cate Sanazaro (Scholastic)

Current Events and Issues

Capitalizing on Contemporary Issues in Sports: The Concussion Controversy by Rob Ford (North Branford High School, NCTE 2016)

Sports News (Newsela)

Using Current Events to Tell the Story of Our Times by Christopher Brown and Colleen Caulfield (Norwich Free Academy; NCTE 2014)

What is Sport for? (

History/Social Studies

A Visual History of Sports (The Atlantic)

America  America’s Obsession: Sports and Society Since 1945 by Richard O. Davies

Athletes in Society

Baseball Divided: Segregation and Discrimination in Baseball (PBS)

Baseball, Race Relations, and Jackie Robinson (Library of Congress)

Basketball History Activity

Borrowing from Fantasy Sports to Teach Current Events and Geography (The New York Times)

Civil Rights History: Before You Could Say “Jackie Robinson” (National Baseball Hall of Fame)

Cultural Diversity: Diversity in the Dugout (National Baseball Hall of Fame)

Geography: Coast to Coast (National Baseball Hall of Fame)

Mapping Baseball (PBS)

Negro Leagues Lesson Plans by Historical Time Frame (Negro Leagues Baseball Museum)

Shattering  Shattering the Glass: The Remarkable History of Women’s Basketball by Pamela Grundy and Susan Shackelford

   Something Like the Gods: A Cultural History of the Athlete from Achilles to LeBron by Stephen Amidon

Sports and Games of the Ancients (Sports and Games Through History)Sports and Games of the Ancients by Steve Craig

Sports  Sports in American Life: A History by Richard O. Davies

Sports Detectives (Smithsonian)

Women in Baseball (PBS)

Women’s History: Dirt on their Skirts (National Baseball Hall of Fame)


A Basketball Team Helped by Math by Katherine Schulten (The New York Times)

A Graphical History of Baseball by Michael Bein

Baseball Batting Lineup (Promethean Planet)

Baseball Geometry (PBS)

Baseball Math by Bob Krech (Scholastic)

Busting the Brackets! Mathematics and the NCAA Tournament (The New York Times)

Economics: The Business of Baseball (National Baseball Hall of Fame)

Fantasy Baseball Math Program

Fantasy Football Project by Kristin McGahan (Wake Forest University)

Finding the Angle that Can Change Her Life by Kristen Meier (Wake Forest University)

Fun with Baseball Stats (NCTM)

Geometry: Circling the Bases (National Baseball Hall of Fame)

Honner, P., & Ojalvo, A. P. (2011, October 26). Put me in, coach! Getting in the quantitative game with fantasy football. The New York Times.

Let’s Go Fishing by Matthew Tysinger (Wake Forest University)

  Mathletics: How Gamblers, Managers, and Sports Enthusiasts Use Mathematics in Baseball, Basketball, and Football by Wayne L. Winston

Put Me in, Coach! Getting in the Quantitative Game with Fantasy Football (The New York Times)

Sports Mathematics by Cynthia Adams, Christina Cronrath, Tracy Foote, Wayne Miller, Jeanie Shaw, & Leah McCoy

Stadium Consultants (PBS)

Statistics: Batter Up! (National Baseball Hall of Fame)


Aerodynamics of Baseball (NASA)


ESPN Sports Science

Health Science: Be a Superior Example (National Baseball Hall of Fame)

Innovation: Tools of the Trade (National Baseball Hall of Fame)

Keeping up with the Joneses by Philip J. Stephens (National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science)

Pick-Up Game: A Full Day of Full Court“Laws of Motion” in  Pick-up Game: A Full Day of Full Court by Marc Aronson and Charles R. Smith, Jr.

The Olympics: Body and Mind (PBS Newshour Extra)

Physical Science: Science on the Sandlot (National Baseball Hall of Fame)

Reaching for Olympic Glory (AAAS Science Net Links)

Rough Games and the Brain by Peggy Brickman (National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science)

The 2000-Meter Row by Nathan Strong (National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science)

The Ice Hockey Injury by Philip J. Stephens (National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science)

Football: How It Works (The Science of Sports)The Science of Sports (Series of books: baseball, basketball, football)

Critical Thinking

Play Ball! Encouraging Critical Thinking through Baseball Questions by Dr. Helen Hoffner (Ridley Park, PA; ReadWriteThink)


All Around the Baseball Field (Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts)

“For Many Goalies, Masks Are an Artful Identity” (The New York Times)


Perfect Pitch (Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts)

2016 Summer Olympics

“Amazement Awaits” by Dr. Maya Angelou

From Athletics to Academics: How to Use Olympic Games to Boost Your Kid’s Vocabulary (NBC News Education)

Gold Medal Olympic Activities (Education World)

Olympic Games – Resources for Teachers (TeacherVision)

Teaching about the 2016 Summer Olympics (National Education Association)

Teaching Resources (The Olympic Museum)

The Summer Olympics (ReadWriteThink sponsored by NCTE and ILA)

Books Connecting Sports and Literacy

Product DetailsLiteracy lessons to help kids get fit & healthy by Michael Opitz and Jennier Davis-Duerr (see also Fitness Literacy)

Product DetailsMore than a game: Sports literature for young adults by Chris Crowe

Product DetailsWriting on the bus: Using athletic team notebooks and journals to advance learning and performance in sports by Rich Kent

Product DetailsOut of bounds: When scholarship athletes become academic scholars by Jabari Mahiri and Derek Van Rheenen

Articles Connecting Sports and Literacy

Alvermann, D. E., Huddleston, A., & Hagood, M. C. (2004). What could professional wrestling and school literacy practice possibly have in common? Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 47(7), 532-540.

Baker, W. D. (2007). When English language arts, basketball, and poetry collide. English Journal, 96(5), 37-40.

Brown, A. (2014) Second reaction: The Contender. First Opinions, Second Reactions, 7(1), 32-34.

Brown, A., & Crowe, C. (2013). Ball Don’t Lie: Connecting Adolescents, Sports, and Literature. The ALAN Review, 41(1), 76-80.

Cantey, C., Bach, J., & Bickmore, S. T. (2009/2010). Why we read what middle school boys are reading. SIGNAL Journal, 33(1), 3-7.

Cowley, J. (2012, January 22). Beyond The Art of Fielding: Why American novelists turn to sports. Slate.

Crowe, C. (2001). Young adult literature: Sports literature for young adults. English Journal, 90(6), 129-133.

Dyson, A. H. (2001). Coach Bombay’s kids learn to write: Children’s appropriation of media material for school literacy. In Cushman, E., Kintgen, E. R., Kroll, B. M., & Rose, M. (Eds.), Literacy: A critical sourcebook (pp. 325-357). Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s. (Reprinted from Research in the Teaching of English, 33(4), 367-401)

Egwuonwu, O. (2008). The Transitional Voice of Walter Dean Myers. Mosaic, 22. Retrieved from

Johnson Jr., R. (2002). Say it ain’t so, Jay: Fitzgerald’s use of baseball in The Great Gatsby. The F. Scott Fitzgerald Review, 1(1), 30-44.

Krieger, E. (1992). Reading, writing, and the Red Sox. Journal of Reading, 35(8), 680-681.

Minchew, S. S. (2002). Teaching character through sports literature. The Clearing House, 75(3), 137-141.

Miller, A. M. (2014). Sport: A powerful topic to generate language work. Modern English Teacher, 23(3), 56-59.

Nasir, N. S. (2008). Everyday pedagogy: Lessons from basketball, track, and dominoes. Phi Delta Kappan, 89(7), 529-532.

Spencer, P. (1989). YA novels in the AP classroom: Crutcher meets Camus. English Journal, 78(7), 44-46.

Suen, A. (2011). Read and write sports: Readers theatre and writing activities for grades 3-8.Santa Barbara,CA: Libraries Unlimited.

Wulf, S. (2011, October 3). The [dis]passion of John Henry: One man’s Dickensian approach to building a sports empire. ESPN the Magazine.

Young, J. P. (2001). Displaying practices of masculinity: Critical literacy and social contexts. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 45(1), 4-14.

Zitlow, C. (1995). Young adult literature: Did Patty Bergen write this poem?  Connecting poetry and young adult literature. English Journal, 84(1), 110-113.

Statistics on Education and Sport

Gillis, J. (2007). 7.3 million participants in high school sports. High School Today, 1(2), 6-7.

National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) (2008). National coaching report: The state of coaching in the U.S. Reston,VA: Author.

National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) (2011). High school sports participation continues upward climb. Indianapolis, IN: Author.

Sports Magazines and Other Web Sites

ESPN High School Read to Achieve


Sporting News

Sports Illustrated

Sports Illustrated for Kids

Sports Know How

See for a more extensive list of sports magazines and Web sites

Other Book Depositories

Goodreads Sports Books

Thriftybooks Used Books – Sports

Barnes & Noble Teen Fiction – Sports

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