Click the “Recommended Resources” link above to find useful resources for utilizing sports in the secondary ELA classroom. Enjoy!
Edited by Alan Brown and Luke Rodesiler (2016)
Publisher: NCTE Books
Interview with Editors Alan Brown and Luke Rodesiler: Education Talk Radio
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
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
Southwest Guilford High School Sports Literacy Program – Alan Brown (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
Media Literacy & Social Issues
Digital Media Literacy in a Sports, Popular Culture, and Literature Course by Carolyn Fortuna (The Journal of Media Literacy Education)
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)
Teach Media Literacy with Super Bowl Ads by Frank W. Baker (MiddleWeb)
Literature Study & Young Adult Literataure
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)
Forging Character: The Intersection of Nature, Self, and Extreme Sports by Elizabeth G. Dinkins (Bellarmine University; NCTE 2016)
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
“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
Vaguely Literary by Sam Rubenstein (SLAM Magazine)
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)
Diamante Poems (ReadWriteThink)
“LeBron James” by Nate Marshall (YouTube)
Poems for sports (Poetry.org)
Poetry Madness: Kobe Edition by Adrienne Raphel (Poetryfoundation.org)
Poetry Man by David Krell (National Baseball Hall of Fame)
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)
“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)
Write Like This: Sports as a Vehicle for Real-World Writing by Jordan Daniels and Joan F. Mitchell (Wake Forest University; NCTE 2013)
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, WritingAthletes.com)
Zines for Kids: Multigenre Texts about Media Icons (ReadWriteThink, NCTE)
Rhetoric Friday by Randy Fair (Milton, GA; The New York Times)
Communication Arts: Going, Going, Gone (National Baseball Hall of Fame)
Research and Inquiry
Sports Opinionaire by Jeffrey Wilhelm (Boise State University, NCTE 2016)
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)
The Year I Was Born: An Autobiographical Research Project by Patricia Schulze (Yankton, SD; ReadWriteThink)
March Madness: Using Tournament Brackets to Debate Academic Questions (The New York Times)
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? (thepointmag.com)
Baseball, Race Relations, and Jackie Robinson (Library of Congress)
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)
Sports and Games of the Ancients by Steve Craig
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)
Busting the Brackets! Mathematics and the NCAA Tournament (The New York Times)
Economics: The Business of Baseball (National Baseball Hall of Fame)
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)
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)
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)
“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)
The Science of Sports (Series of books: baseball, basketball, football)
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)
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
More than a game: Sports literature for young adults by Chris Crowe
Out 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
See World-Newspapers.com for a more extensive list of sports magazines and Web sites
Other Book Depositories