Personal Best

By Jeanette Larson

Books to Share

  • The Champ by Tonya Bolden.
  • Featherless / Desplumado by Juan Felipe Herrera.
  • Running Girl: The Diary of Ebonee Rose by Sharon Bell Mathis.
  • Sheryl Swoopes: Bounce Back by Sheryl Swoopes.
  • Wilma Unlimited by Kathleen Krull.
  • Winning Every Day by Shannon Miller.

Books to Show or Booktalk

  • Cat Running by Zilpha Keatley Snyder.
  • Choosing Sides by Ilene Cooper.
  • Girl vs. Wave by Scott Bass.
  • JoJo’s Flying Sidekick by Brian Pinkney.
  • On Guard by Donna Jo Napoli.
  • Salt in His Shoes: Michael Jordan in Pursuit of a Dream by Deloris Jordan.
  • Samurai Spirit: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Life by Burt Konzak.

Bulletin Board


Use the star pattern to create motivational slogans for the bulletin board. Some suggestions: “I’m the best me I can be!,” “Keep trying!,” and “Each of us is unique.”


Star Cookies

Bake or purchase plain star-shaped sugar cookies. Provide tubes of icing, chocolate and multi-colored jimmies or sprinkles, and colored sugar for the kids to decorate their stars.

Rhymes and Poetry

Read “The Finish Line” in The Break Dance Kids: Poems of Sport, Motion, and Locomotion by Lillian Morrison.

Audio Recordings

  • “The Greatest” on She Rides Wild Horses by Kenny Rogers.
  • “How’d You Like to Do That?” on Around the World and Back Again by Tom Chapin.
  • “I Hide My Muscles Well” on Bloom by Zak Morgan.
  • “Most Valuable Player” on Down in the Backpack by Bill Harley.

Riddles and Jokes

Q. What did the runner say to the tomato that was walking slowly?
A. Ketchup!

Q. What do you call a pig that studies martial arts?
A. Pork chop!

Q. What’s the quietest sport?
A. Bowling. You can hear a pin drop.

Q. What’s the nosiest sport?
A. Tennis. Someone is always raising a racquet!

Reader’s Theater Scripts

Use the script for “Master Man: A Tall Tale of Nigeria” available on Aaron Shepard’s Reader’s Theater Page. Shadusa thinks he is the strongest man until he meets someone stronger.


Super Star Mobile


  • Star pattern
  • Yellow and white construction paper
  • Yarn
  • Scissors
  • Markers or colored pencils
  • Hole punch
  • Coat hangers
  • Photographs of participants (optional)
  • Glue sticks (optional)


Make copies of the star pattern. Distribute the star patterns and construction paper to each child. Let each child cut out four to six stars. If possible, ask the children to bring a school photo or take digital photos. Glue the photo to one star. On the remaining stars, the children will write about accomplishments of which they are proud. This could be an academic, physical, or other positive personal achievement. To complete the mobile, the children punch a hole at the top of each star and tie the stars to the metal coat hanger with pieces of yarn.

Guest Speakers

Invite a psychologist or motivational speaker to talk about self-esteem, setting goals, and working through challenges.


If you have public performance rights, show these videos and DVDs, or segments of them, to the children. Otherwise, display them for home use.

  • The Man Who Walked Between the Towers. (10 minutes)
  • Miracle. (136 minutes)
  • Rudy. (113 minutes)
  • Sports Pages. (30 minutes)

Web Sites

The Kid’s Hall of Fame
This site spotlights kids who have accomplished something extraordinary for their age. Read about these amazing kids and nominate some from your community.

A-maze yourself as you test your skill at navigating the maze.

Match wits with the computer as you mimic the sounds and colors sequences. Try to beat your best score!

Professional Resources

  • The Break Dance Kids: Poems of Sport, Motion, and Locomotion by Lillian Morrison.
  • Aaron Shepard’s Reader’s Theater Page

    Author Aaron Shepard provides original readers theater scripts, stories, and more for use by teachers, librarians, and kids.


Texas Reading Club 2006 Programming Manual / Reading: The Sport of Champions!

Published by the Library Development Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Page last modified: June 14, 2011