Are Travel Sports Out of Control?

Travel teams are super competitive and let you focus on your favorite sport. But some people say that’s exactly why they’re a bad idea.

By Kara Corridan
From the May / June 2019 Issue
Lexile: 600L-700L, 800L-900L
Guided Reading Level: T
DRA Level: 50
Activities (2)
Quizzes (2)
Quizzes (2)
Answer Key (1)
Activities (2) Download All Activities
Quizzes (2)
Quizzes (2)
Answer Key (1)
Can't-Miss Teaching Extras

In addition to travel sports, many other after-school activities require large time commitments. If any of your students are struggling with time-management skills, take a look at this Scholastic guide. It offers a variety tools to help students budget their time in and out of the classroom.      

Whether kids are playing on a travel team or just for fun, it’s important for young athletes to stay healthy. Check out these articles from Kids Health to learn about common injuries among young athletes and how to prevent them.

For students who are serious athletes, this interview with Bob Bowman, coach of Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps, is a must-read. Bowman encourages young athletes to maintain a healthy lifestyle and offers advice for aspiring professionals. 

More About the Story


Main ideas and supporting evidence, opinion writing

Complexity Factors


The debate presents pros and cons of travel teams.  


The text consists of an introduction followed by two sections, one discussing the benefits of travel teams and one discussing the drawbacks.  


The language is mainly conversational but includes the somewhat challenging word elite, as well as some wordplay.

Knowledge Demands 

Some understanding of the different kinds of leagues available to young athletes will be helpful. 

Step-by-Step Lesson Plan

1. Preparing to Read

Have students preview the text features. Ask:

  • What is the topic of the debate? (Prompt students to use the debate title and the heading on the chart as clues.)
  • What do you think are the two sides of the issue?

2. Reading the Debate 

Read the debate as a class or in small groups.

Have students read the debate a second time. Prompt them to mark the types of support the author presents to back up each side, including:

  • Facts and statistics (F/S)
  • Quotes from experts (Q)
  • Stories or examples (EX)

3. Discussing

As a class or in groups, have students discuss:

  • Which evidence is most effective in supporting each side?
  • Is one side stronger than the other? Why?
  • What is your opinion? What evidence do you find the most convincing?
  • For more-advanced students: Do you think the author has a preferred point of view on this issue? What is your evidence?

4. Writing

Have students complete the chart in the magazine.

Distribute the activity “Write an Opinion Essay.” The lower-level version guides students to write a three-paragraph essay on the debate topic. The higher-level version prompts them to bring in additional evidence and write six paragraphs, including a rebuttal of the other side. With either version, hand out our Opinion Writing Toolkit, which offers writing tips and transition words.