It’s baseball season again. It’s also the 10th anniversary of Catching the Moon: The Story of a Young Girl’s Baseball Dream written by Crystal Hubbard and illustrated by Randy DuBurke. How can you celebrate both?
Catching the Moon was selected by the Screen Actors Guild Foundation for its latest read aloud on Storyline Online, an interactive literacy website where well-known actors read popular, award-winning children’s books to help students fall in love with reading.
Resources for Teaching After Reading and Watching Catching the Moon
- Activity Guide from Storyline Online
- Teacher’s Guide from Lee & Low Books
- Activities and Reading Questions for Ballpark Biographies
- Interview with author Crystal Hubbard on women playing professional baseball and why she wrote about Toni Stone
- Timeline of Toni Stone’s career from Exploratorium’s Science of Baseball
Comprehension Questions for the Video or Read Aloud
- Describe what Marcenia loves about baseball.
- How does Marcenia feel about the way others treat her as a ball player? How do you know?
- What does Marcenia do that ultimately changes her father and Mr. Street’s mind about her playing baseball and attending the camp? How will this experience help her when she is an adult trying to play on a men’s professional team?
- At what point in Toni Stone’s life does the author, Crystal Hubbard, choose to begin? Why do you think she chooses to start there and not when Toni Stone is an adult playing as a professional ball player? What message does author Crystal Hubbard want young readers to learn from this story? Why?
1. Have students compare and contrast Catching the Moon with other baseball biographies. How are their experiences similar? What barriers do they tackle? What character traits do they share that have allowed them to overcome obstacles? What legacies do they leave behind? How do they change people’s minds?
- Louis Sockalexis: Native American Baseball Pioneer
- Silent Star: The Story of Deaf Major Leaguer William Hoy
- Beisbol! Latino Baseball Pioneers and Legends
2. Have students research Mo’ne Davis, 13-year-old Philadelphia pitcher in the Little League and compare her experiences in baseball to Marcenia Lyle’s. The Anti-Defamation League’s Current Events Classroom has put together a lesson plan to learn more about Mo’ne Davis and explore gender stereotypes in sports.
3. Science in Baseball? Check out these extension ideas from Science Buddies:
- The Biomechanics of Pitching
- How High Can You Throw a Baseball?
- The Physics of Cheating in Baseball
- Baseball Bat Debate: What’s Better, Wood or Aluminum?
- Learn more about the physics and mathematics involved in baseball at Exploratorium’s Science of Baseball
4. Have students discover other women who played and were involved in black professional baseball. Check out the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum’s education resources made in partnership with Kansas State University. Students can learn about the roles African American women played at all levels of the league in the NLBM’s lesson plan.
5. Put Marcenia Lyle’s story in further context. With students, create a timeline of critical moments and milestones of women in American baseball. The National Baseball Hall of Fame has created a five lesson unit on women in baseball history.
If Youtube is blocked or unavailable at your school, find Storyline Online’s Catching the Moon read aloud video at:
How have you been teaching and celebrating Catching the Moon all these years? What lessons and activities did we miss? Share with us!
Jill Eisenberg, our Senior Literacy Expert, began her career teaching English as a Foreign Language to second through sixth graders in Yilan, Taiwan as a Fulbright Fellow. She went on to become a literacy teacher for third grade in San Jose, CA as a Teach for America corps member. She is certified in Project Glad instruction to promote English language acquisition and academic achievement. In her weekly column at The Open Book, she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators.