Developing Contemporary Literacies through Sports

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

Edited by Alan Brown and Luke Rodesiler 

Published by NCTE Books

Companion Website

For more information about Developing Contemporary Literacies through Sports:


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 by Luke Rodesiler and Alan Brown – NCTE Web Seminar

“Not Just for Athletes: Using Sports-based Texts to Develop Classroom Literacies” by Trisha Collopy (NCTE Membership Required) – Council Chronicle

“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

“Developing Contemporary Liteacies and Fostering Multicultural Education through Sports Literature” by Shelly Shaffer – Multicultural Perspectives

Themed Issue of English Journal

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

Publication Date: September 2014

Volume 104, Number 1

Guest Editors:

Alan Brown, Wake Forest University

Chris Crowe, Brigham Young University

Love sports or hate them, it’s hard to deny their prominence in American society and their popularity with twenty-first century adolescents. Interscholastic athletics in particular can play a significant role in the overall culture of a school and have a substantial impact on students’ daily lives. Despite this influence, the topic of sport in society is often absent from the professional conversations of English teachers, an exclusion that could prove to be a missed opportunity. This issue will examine the possibilities for both utilizing and critiquing the culture of sports as a means of increasing student engagement and promoting student learning in the English classroom. Within this context, we seek manuscripts that explore the intersection of literacy, sport, culture, and society, and we encourage column submissions devoted to this same theme.

A number of important questions guide this issue: What connections or disconnections exist between the perceived physical nature of athletics and the mental nature of academics? What real-world associations have you made between sports and the English curriculum? How can sports-related texts (e.g., young adult literature, canonical literature, graphic novels, poetry, nonfiction, magazines, newspapers) be integrated into the academic culture of an English class?   How have you promoted the teaching of 21st century skills through the use of sports-related media, film, and technology? What possibilities exist for interdisciplinary (e.g., historical, political, scientific, social) connections to sports across content areas? How have you engaged students in critical dialogue about our societal emphasis on sports? How can we extend the definition of sport to be more inclusive for students of diverse cultures, races, genders, ethnicities, and abilities? How can an examination of sports culture open the door to discussions of other cultures that exist in school and society? 

This themed issue of English Journal is dedicated to the memory of Cap Lavin, a man who touched the lives of countless students, colleagues, and friends before passing away on February 10, 2013, at the age of 82. Cap was an outstanding basketball player at the University of San Francisco, a forty-year English teacher at Sir Francis Drake High School in San Anselmo, California, and the co-founder of the Bay Area Writing Project at UC Berkeley, a project that later served as a model for the National Writing Project.

Cap served as an informal mentor to Alan Brown during the writing of his dissertation on core content area teacher-coaches. He is recognized in the acknowledgements section (p. V) of Alan’s dissertation.

We honored Cap Lavin at the NCTE Annual Convention in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, November 22, as the National Writing Project sponsored our session titled The Intersection of Literacy, Sport, Culture, and Society.

On Cap’s relationship with his son, Steve Lavin.

For a wonderful article on teaching English and coaching basketball.

To read about Sheridan Blau’s memories of Cap Lavin, Jim Gray, and the Bay Area Writing Project.

To read more about the beginnings of the Bay Area Writing Project.

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