The F3 Soccer & Literacy Program uses the power of sport to uplift communities. We support a youth development model that focuses on organizing programs that combine soccer with the following skills:
Teamwork and leadership building
Higher-order thinking skills (e.g. critical thinking, problem solving)
Comprehension and vocabulary development
Reading and writing fluency
Interdisciplinary connections (Science, Technology, English, Arts, and Math content)
Culturally relevant and sustainable pedagogy
Discussion-based, student-centered inquiry
Book & CurrICULUM
Each session, students will read from the bestselling soccer novel Born to Play by Dan (D.C.) Freedman. This novel series follows the life of Jamie Johnson and every step of his journey from fifth grade soccer all the way to the World Cup and beyond.
A curriculum was designed to correspond with each chapter of Born to Play; each lesson template including appropriate state standards, materials, and differentiation of instruction. We include extension materials to additionally challenge or support learners from all backgrounds.
F3's Director of Education, Leiah Groom-Thomas, created a Train the Trainer professional development program to empower teachers and coaches to implement the curriculum using evidence-based practice that is both adaptable and developmentally appropriate for students. F3's goal is to facilitate simulating reading discussions about the characters and challenges presented in this story -- from academics to bullying -- in order to support the skills necessary for literacy achievement and life success.
Each day, students will complete an “Evidence of Learning” deliverable and present it to their team. This will include character analysis charts, chronological organization of text, writing prompts to build fluency and understanding of text, referencing text to support claims, and more.
"One of the most valuable aspects of this program has been facilitating reading and literacy instruction through discussion-based pedagogy based on what we are reading. Our conversations have been rooted in various life lessons and experiences that a lot of kids can relate to, regardless of their individual background knowledge or prior experience. Kids are engaged with the reading and therefore have a vested interest in discussions. We talk about how to handle adversity, how to engage in problem-solving activities using critical thinking and reflection, using textual evidence to support claims, and contextualizing new vocabulary and learning concepts to bolster reading comprehension. So far, it has been a wonderful experience and I look forward to continuing this work in the coming weeks," says Groom-Thomas.
Jamie Johnson Series
The Jamie Johnson Series follows a young boy who lives and breathes soccer. He's got amazing talent and the desire to make it to the top. He's not perfect, but then none of us are. In each new book of the series, we follow Jamie on every step of his journey as he aims to fulfill his dream of becoming one of he biggest soccer stars in the world.
Born to Play
Born to Play is the first in the series. It is not a "how-to" soccer book - it's a great story with ups and downs, twists and turns. It will get the kids thinking, and they will learn life lessons. Schools throughout the country are adopting the book and its teaching curriculum.
Director of education, Leiah Groom-Thomas
Leiah Groom-Thomas, Director of Education for F3, will take the lead on developing and expanding F3's Soccer & Literacy Branch, which includes F3 After-school and Summer programs as well as a Train the Trainer Program. Leiah is in the final stages of receiving her PhD in Reading and Literacy in Early and Middle Childhood from The Ohio State University. Her research expertise includes young children’s literacy and comprehension skill development. Prior to pursuing her PhD, Leiah was a teacher at Grace Christian School in Blacklick, Ohio where she also assisted in organizing and operating various camp programs.
The objectives of the program are to foster a love for reading, generate enthusiasm for the game of soccer, and develop an understanding of teamwork and leadership.