School is definitely back in session. The kids are there all day and busy with activities and homework once they get out. Let’s take a look at some sports-related fun this week with the September issue of Sports Illustrated Kids. This issue has articles on the football season, a Pink Posse of fierce skateboarders, a Star Wars fan film, and more.
Pre-K Crowd: The sooner little guy get the idea that reading is about more than a book, the better. There are publications geared just to them. We’ll cover those in a separate post mid-week next week, in fact. Meanwhile, they can participate in the activities this week from Sports Illustrated Kids. For one thing, you’ll find trading cards at the front of the issue. Punch the cards out and give them to your child. Explain which sport is on each card. Then pick one card that is a favorite and help your child to describe what he/she sees. For some of the cards, there is a lot of equipment involved. Make sure you help spot the goggles, safety shields, and gloves. You can also focus on what is needed to play the game–from lacrosse sticks to ice skates. Finally, have your child make up a story about the person on the card. There are no soccer players this month, but if your child has experience with soccer, have him/her tell you about what happens on game day. Have your child tell you in sequence, so that the story of the day has a beginning, a middle, and an end.
Grades K-1: The first pages of Sports Illustrated Kids have a series of short pieces. One is about a rainbow. Another is about a rodeo for young kids. You’ll find a piece on crossbar dunks–which may or may not be something your child knows anything about, as well as short pieces about kids who play sports, and a football-playing photographer. Have your child look through the magazine. See what catches his/her attention. It may be a short piece, or it may be one of the longer articles. Help your child read the piece of interest, then have a short talk about it. Why was it interesting? What else would he/she like to know about this sports figure? Why? Would this be a person your child might want to hang out with? Why? With a full week of school and homework, adding more writing will suck the excitement out of reading the magazine, so just talk about what he/she read and enjoy the conversation.
Grade 2: There is an article about skateboarding girls who just happen to be in grades 1, 2, and 3. You don’t have to be a girl to be interested in what these girls are up to. This is a good article for kids this age because it’s about kids their age. If the article itself is challenging reading, read it to your child. Then help him/her read the short blurbs in the sidebar. No way your kid is going to read this piece? That’s okay. There’s another article about a Star Wars fan film that was made by a Georgia wide receiver. It combines UGA football info–go dawgs!–with Star Wars. Talk to your child about the article. Then ask him/her what movie he/she would like to make. Take some index cards and draw a picture to represent the scene. Add a brief description of the action. You’ll find that the imagined movie will have a beginning, a middle, and an end.
Grades 3-5: There’s plenty of interest in this issue of Sports Illustrated Kids. In addition to the articles that have already been mentioned, there is an entire NFL Preview section. If your child is into football, turn him/her loose on this section. Then ask him/her to tell you what’s new for the teams or players of interest. Not so into football? Your child can still read a few of the ‘blurbs” to see what goes into a blurb, then write blurbs of his/her own for people he/she knows. You could create blurbs, too, then have your child make up a story using only the info in them. The article on quarterbacks is excellent. Your child can read that and agree or disagree with the importance of a quarterback. He/she could also use the types of information from this piece to tell you why other positions in football, or other sports, are vital to the success of the team. You have a child who is just so not into sports? Ask what pictures he/she would take to go with a story about a sport. Brainstorm the questions he/she would ask if she/she were to interview a player. There’s more than one way to relate to sports–even for those who choose not to play or cheer a team on.
I guess it’s clear that I love sports–more as a fan than as a player, let me hasten to add. I believe there’s a sport to pique the interest of each of us. I also believe that participating in sports, whether as a player or a fan, provides an excellent way for kids to be involved with their peers as they enter high school and are old enough to attend games with their friends. The younger they start learning about sports, the more confident they’ll be to go to those games.
Oh! One other thing. Many sports pieces are written in a style and voice I call “Sports Talk.” Don’t be concerned if your normally facile reader needs a bit of an assist when reading about sports. Once your child has a negotiated a few articles, he/she will be good to go.