Sports Illustrated Kids Starting Line Readers

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Sports Illustrated Kids Starting Line Readers by C.C. Joven, 2017
(Ages 4 – 6)

This is a great new series from Sports Illustrated that helps children practice their reading skills while also learning about sportsmanship. Each book contains simple sentences made up of only a few words that are set against large color illustrations that give the reader visual clues to the meaning of the text. The straightforward stories follow diverse young athletes as they contend with the challenges of competition. Instead of focusing on winning or losing, the books show children having fun while playing sports and overcoming some various sport-related obstacles. With a vocabulary list of difficult words at the end of every book, this is a welcome addition to the easy-reader genre which lacks books with sports themes.  

Here are the books currently in the Starting Line Readers series:

Basketball Break by C.C. Joven, 2017
Lucas loves to play basketball. He enjoys shooting and dribbling, but doesn’t pass to his teammates. After observing the other kids on his team, he realizes the importance of passing the ball and becomes more of a team player.
– Lexile: 220L
– Fountas & Pinnell: F


Gymnastics Jump by C.C. Joven, 2017
Lily is excited and nervous about competing in her first gymnastics meet. Lily stretches and then performs several moves successfully, but then falls off the balance beam. Lily bravely gets back up and completes her routine reinforcing the valuable lesson of perseverance.
– Lexile: 220L
– Fountas & Pinnell: E


Soccer Score by C.C. Joven, 2017
Mia runs fast and kicks hard, but misses the goal and loses her shoe during her soccer game. Luckily Mia’s friend scores and the teammates celebrate her accomplishment. Mia remains positive after losing her shoe and her happiness for her friend promotes the merits of a team.
– Lexile: 210L
– Fountas & Pinnell: E


Baseball Buzz by C.C. Joven, 2017
Jackson gets ready for his big game by practicing catching, hitting, and throwing. On the day of the game, Jackson misses a fly ball due to a bee buzzing around him. The umpire calls a time out while the players have a snack. When the bee flies away, the game resumes and the book ends simply with the words, “Jackson likes baseball.” While the reader won’t find out who won or lost the game, they will appreciate the joy of simply playing a sport.
– Lexile: 230L
– Fountas & Pinnell: E

Looking for more sports themed easy readers? Check out Don’t Throw it to Mo (2015) and Get a Hit Mo (2016) by David Adler.