Books Make Good Sports

By Teresa Chiv

Books to Share

  • It’s Just a Game by John Farrell.
  • Louanne Pig in Making the Team by Nancy Carlson.
  • Ready, Set, Swim! by Gail Donovan.
  • Too Small for the Team by Stan and Jan Berenstain.

Books to Show or Booktalk

  • Eddie: Harold’s Little Brother by Ed Koch.
  • Good Sport Gwen by Valerie Tripp.
  • I Never Win by Judy Delton.
  • So What If I’m a Sore Loser by Barbara Williams.


“Be a Good Sport…Read”

Place the caption, “Be a Good Sport…Read,” along with sports medals, trophies, and ribbons, on a display table or shelf. If you cannot gather these items, mount pictures on cardboard to display. Surround the prizes with several books about sports.


Thumb Makes Five

(By Teresa Chiv.)

Fingers one, two, three, and four wanted to play ball. (Hold up index, middle, ring, and pinky fingers)

They needed thumb to make five in all. (Lift thumb)

The first one said, “Thumb’s not very cool.” (Point to pinky)

The second one said, “You’d want to play too.” (Point to ring finger)

The third one said, “We really need five.” (Point to middle finger)

The fourth one said, “Let’s give her a try.” (Point to index finger)

So, thumb got ready to join right in, (Point to thumb)

And together they bounced the ball to win. (Make bouncing motion with hand)

Rhymes and Poetry

“Good Sportsmanship” by Richard Armour in Childcraft Encyclopedia Volume 1, 2000.

Dance and Movement Songs

Sing “Sports Song” on Genki English Vol. III by Richard Graham. Lyrics and gestures are available on-line at,

Audio Recordings

  • “Sore Loser” on Billy the Squid by Tom Chapin.
  • “Sports Song” on On the Move With Greg and Steve by Greg and Steve.


Paper Chain Hands Good Sport Crown


  • Multicultural colored construction paper
  • Safety scissors
  • Pencils
  • Glue sticks
  • Elmer’s glue
  • Glitter
  • Crayons, colored pencils or markers in various shades of beige and brown or in multicultural colors


five hands traced onto construction paper

Trace the children’s hands onto the construction paper, making four handprints for each child. Let the children cut out the handprints, with help from adults if needed. Then allow the children to decorate the ring, middle, and index fingernails of each handprint with glitter, colors, or markers. Multicultural construction paper and crayons are available from many school supply stores. The children can also decorate the back of the palm on each handprint. The children will then glue the tip of each of the pinkies to the tip of each of the thumbs to make a chain of four hands. Finally, glue the two hands on each end together, thumb to pinky, to create a “good sport crown.” As an option, the children can trade hands with each other, so that they are “giving each other a hand” before gluing the chain links. If you have trouble finding these items locally, try S and S Worldwide and Crayola.

Games and Activities

Simon Says Be a Good Sport

(Adapted by Teresa Chiv. Discuss being a good sport with children, then play “Simon Says” using examples of good sportsmanship and bad sportsmanship, as shown below. Children should do the activities Simon says to do, but not do the activities mentioned in the commands not made by Simon. Photocopy the medal provided that says, “_________ is a good sport.” Award the medal to the children at the end of the game.)

Simon says stand up. (Stand up)

Simon says throw a baseball. (Act as if you are throwing a ball with one hand)

Throw your bat on the ground. (No activity)

Simon says run in place. (Run in place)

Simon says stop running. (Stop running)

Run backwards. (No activity)

Simon says kick the soccer ball. (Act as if you are kicking a ball)

Pick the soccer ball up with your hands. (No activity)

Simon says clap your hands for the other team. (Clap your hands)

Stomp your foot. (No activity)

Simon says shake hands with the person to your right. (Shake your neighbor’s hand)

Kick your foot in anger. (No activity)

Simon says say “Good Job.” (Say “good job”)

Say “That’s no fair.” (No activity)

Simon says shout “Hooray.” (Shout “Hooray!”)

Shout “Boo.” (No activity)

Simon says sit down and get ready for another great sport book! (Sit down)

Guest Speakers

Invite a local soccer team coach to discuss the importance of playing for fun, and to show the children a few soccer moves.


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 Good Sport” on Arthur, the Good Sport. (12 minutes)
  • You’re a Good Sport Charlie Brown. (25 minutes)

Professional Resources


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