If your students are like mine, they've been discussing the Winter Olympics for the past few days. My second graders are so excited to watch the events and cheer on their favorite athletes. I enjoy seeing their faces light up when they discuss these topics.
Their conversations quickly grow into large group discussions filled with enthusiasm that attract more listeners to actively join in the fun. I like to take advantage of this curiosity and interest by including the topic into our daily studies.
One way I cultivate this wonder and passion is through literature. Scholastic has numerous books available to teach about the Olympics, the athletes, and the events. I read a few stories aloud to the children and provide smaller baskets for browsing. Below are a few great selections for your browsing bins.
*Book summaries are borrowed directly from the Scholastic Book Club's website.
By Daisy Meadows
Let the games begin! There's a triathlon in town! Kirsty and Rachel are excited to watch the running, biking, and swimming events. But when people start swimming in circles, losing bike tires, and tripping over their own feet, the girls know something is wrong. Sure enough, Olympia the Games Fairy's magic objects have disappeared!
Olympia needs help tracking down her missing magic. If they don't find it in time, the triathlon and the Fairyland Games will be ruined! Can Rachel and Kirsty go for the gold—and come to the rescue? Find the magic items in all three stories inside this Rainbow Magic Special Edition and help save the games!
By Marcia Thornton Jones and Debbie Dadey
Winter is great! There's snow on the ground, so the Bailey School kids can go sledding, and when they get cold, they can warm themselves up with hot chocolate. But who is the mysterious snowboarder who's all dressed in white?
He never seems to get cold, and he says he's never even tasted hot chocolate. Howie thinks he knows the secret: The snowboarder is in fact a snow monster — and he's going to make it stay cold forever!
By James Preller
Jigsaw is excited to take a snowboarding trip with his family, even if it means putting up with his brothers. When they arrive at the lodge, they discover that famous snowboarder Lance Mashman is there for a competition. But when Lance's lucky bandana goes missing, he threatens to drop out of the contest. Can Jigsaw manage to find it in time? He'll have to do it without his friend Mila there to help him. Can this ace gumshoe make it on his own?
This engaging chapter book is filled with lots of humor and clues that young readers can use to crack the case alongside Jigsaw.
By Donna Freitas
After years of early morning training and more jumps than she can count, Esperanza's dream of figure skating for the United States in the Olympics is coming true. But all the excitement comes with new attention and big distractions.
Espi can't leave her house without reporters and autograph-seekers following her every move. Her new teammates let her know they don't think she's ready for international competition. And while the press matches her up with the youngest — and maybe cutest — member of the U.S. hockey team, the men's figure-skating champion seems to be flirting with her too.
In the midst of it all, Espi is trying to master an impossible secret jump that just might be her key to a medal. Can she focus enough to shut out the drama, find her edge over the competition, and make the Olympics as golden as her dreams?
By James Buckley, Jr.
Young sports enthusiasts can enjoy a whole year's worth of exciting games and competitions with this full-color sports almanac — from stunning plays to last-minute saves, record-making victories to crushing defeats!
The action begins with a colorful top-ten countdown of the year in sports, including giant photos of the teams and stars. From there it's a kaleidoscope of need-to-know facts on major sports like basketball, baseball, football, soccer, and hockey — plus golf, tennis, cycling, snowboarding, surfing, NASCAR racing, and lots more.
Profiles of champions and predictions for the coming year round out the reading experience in this thrilling reference book, putting young fans in the know with the kind of insider info and sports lingo that lets them feel like part of the action.
By Brad Herzog
From the first games held in ancient Greece to the cultural extravaganzas of recent years, there have been some incredible and amazing events and milestones in the world of Olympic sports. This book showcases those athletes and events that not only set sports records but also impacted history and world views.
Learn the meaning behind the five interlocking rings featured on the Olympic flag. Cheer on American Jim Thorpe as he won the pentathlon and decathlon at the 1912 Summer Olympics, only to lose his medals later. Read about how the man dubbed as the "world's laziest high jumper."
By Mary Pope Osborne
Morgan le Fay has a fourth mission for Master Librarians Jack and Annie. And that means one more book that must be rescued from an ancient library.
This time, they're off to ancient Greece, where democracy began. No sooner are they in tunics and sandals than they're chatting it up with Plato, the great Greek scholar. But Annie isn't finding Greece very democratic at all. Girls are not allowed to go to school or read or write. How is that fair?
Plato agrees. In fact, he has a very important book for them to bring into the future. And that book was written by a woman! So no one in Greece must see it. Then the trumpets blare. The Olympic Games are starting up! But girls aren't allowed to attend.
Tell that to Annie.
Will she find a way to get in? Will she get caught? What if they find the woman's book on her? Light up the torch, pull up a chair, and let the games begin!
By Victoria Jamieson
Boomer the Pig has been training hard for the Animal Olympics, so when he loses his first race, he shrugs it off and cheerfully moves on. One event after another, Boomer keeps losing, and the frustration begins to get to him. But even after coming in last in every sport, there's no getting this Olympig down. It's just great practice for the Winter Games!
By Kathleen Krull
When Wilma Rudolph was a young girl, polio paralyzed her left leg. Everyone said she would never walk again. But Wilma refused to believe it. Not only would she walk again, but she'd run. And she did run — all the way to the Olympics, where she became the first American woman to earn three gold medals in a single Olympiad.
By Geronimo Stilton
Geronimo Stilton is not a sportsmouse. Running? Sweating? Not for Geronimo. He prefers relaxing in an armchair with a nice bowl of chocolate cheesy chews. But with the Olympics coming up, sports are all anyone in New Mouse City can talk about.
On his way to cover the games for the newspaper, Geronimo spots his friend, the private investigator Hercule Poirat, in disguise. This can only mean one thing: a mystery!
Scholastic has put together a fabulous and free resource for the Olympic Games. Students can research past Olympics to learn more about these exciting events.
In the News
In my Backyard
History of the Games
More to Explore
And, finally, if you appreciate the artistry and skill of the olympic contenders, you should appreciate the science involved as explained in this series of Science of the Winter Olympic Games videos.