Let the Summer Games Begin

Many young readers are gearing up to follow the summer Olympics in London in July.  The library is filled with resources for all ages to help them prepare for an excellent Olympic experience, even if their participation is done via television.  June is a terrific time for public libraries to sponsor programs that get readers excited about this International event.  Many schools are in session until the end of June, and teachers are looking for meaningful activities for students as they wind down the school year.

  • Kick off a study of the Olympics by asking students to use books in the library or sites on the Internet to find answers to the following trivia quiz: The Olympics Quiz (Note the answers are given).  In the spirit of team competition, give them a chance to work in small groups.  Have them cite the sources they use.  The team that completes the quiz with the most correct answers and in the shortest time wins the Gold Medal.  Beginning readers will enjoy the following titles:

Ancient Greece and the Olympics (ages 6-10) by Mary Pope Osborne & Natalie Pope Boyce & illus. by Sal Murdocca

The Magic Tree House: Hour of the Olympics (ages 6-10) by Mary Pope  Osborne & illus. by Sal Murdocca

  • Ask readers if they can name the sports in the Summer Games.  How many did they name?  Send them to the official website for the Olympic Movement for the answer (The Olympics Website).
  • Tell them that there are two sports that were in the 2008 games, but won’t be a part of the 2012 competition.  Which two?   Which countries won the Gold Medal in these sports in 2008?  Encourage them to find out why these sports are no longer included.
  • Ask them to follow the Olympic flame on a map.  A list of the towns, villages and cities can be found on the following website:Olympic Torch Relay.
  • Have readers find out about the various Olympic sports venues in London.  How many were constructed especially for the 2012 games?  What is living in the athletes’ village like?  The following website will give them information about the venues: London 2012 Summer Olympics.
  • Encourage readers to be a virtual tourist.   Ask them to make an itinerary by choosing from the “Top Ten London Attractions.” Top 10 Attractions in London.
  • Ask readers to brainstorm the qualities it takes to become an Olympian.  They might consider: Determination, Perseverance, Self-Discipline; Teamwork, and a Healthy Lifestyle.  Then ask them to read a book with main characters that display at least one of these qualities.  Some titles from Random House include:

The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Junk Food (ages 4-8) by Stan and Jan Berenstain
The Busy Body Book (ages 4-9) by Lizzy Rockwell
Oh the Things You Can Do That are Good for You (ages 4-8) by Tish Rabe & illus. by Aristides Ruiz
Strong Man (ages 4-8) by Meghan McCarthy
Amelia Earhart (ages 6-9) by John Parlin
Junie B. Jones is Captain of Field Day (ages 6-9) by Barbara Park & illus. by Denise Brunkus
The Great Houdini (ages 7-9) by Monica Kulling & illus. by Anne Reas
Sky High (ages 6-8) by Marissa Moss & illus. by Carl Angel
A Spotlight for Harry (ages 6-9) by Eric A. Kimmel & illus. by Jim Madsen
To the Top: Climbing the World’s Highest Mountain (ages 7-10) by Sydelle Kramer
Dude Ranch (ages 9-12) by Bonnie Bryant
Wild River (ages 9-12) by P.J. Petersen

  • Display books that deal with each of the sports represented in the games.  Then ask readers to select a book, either fiction or nonfiction, about a sport that interests them, and ask them to review the book for the school or library website.  Here are a few suggestions from Random House:

Go for the Gold! (Dora the Explorer) (preschool) by Golden Books & illus. by Warner McGee
Canoe Days (ages 4-8) by Gary Paulsen & illus. by Ruth Wright Paulsen
Cat on the Mat (ages 4-6) by Susan Schade
The Champ: The Story of Muhammad Ali (ages 5-8) by Tonya Bolden & illus. by R. Gregory Christie
Nothing But Trouble: The Story of Althea Gibson (ages 4-8) by Sue Stauffacher  & illus. by Greg Couch
Paddywack (ages 4-8) by Stephanie Spinner & illus. by Daniel Hoswarth
Tillie the Terrible Swede (ages 4-8) by Sue Stauffacher & illus. by Sarah McMenemy
Good Sports (ages 8-up) by Jack Prelutsky & illus. by Chris Raschka
Basketball’s Greatest Players (ages 7-10) by Sydelle Kramer
Horse Crazy (ages 9-12) by Bonnie Bryant
Horse Show (ages 9-12) by Bonnie Bryant
A Passion for Victory (ages 10-up) by Benson Bobrick
Rush for the Gold: Mystery at the Olympics (ages 10-up) by John Feinstein
Hoops (ages 12-up) by Walter Dean Myers
Losing Is Not an Option (ages 12-up) by Rich Wallace
One Good Punch (ages 12-up) by Rich Wallace
The Outside Shot (ages 12-up) by Walter Dean Myers
The Power of One (ages 12-up) by Bryce Courtenay
Wrestling Sturbridge (ages 12-up) by Rich Wallace

Random House Teachers and Librarians