Guest Teacher Blog: Sophie Ainscough

Sophie Ainscough blog

This month Sophie Ainscough shares her experiences of running a Year 4 Reading Gladiators group and how the benefits of running a group extend beyond the children selected in that particular year group.

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This is my 3rd year being involved in reading gladiators and my 2nd as the main leader. I have always had a passion for reading since a young age and when the then English lead asked me to take it on as she was going on maternity leave I jumped at the chance.

I teach year 1 at my school so it has been lovely to interact with my year 4 group and share our opinions about the books. The group has also inspired me to find longer texts to read to my year 1s. My current class have a love of reading and they actually cheer when it’s time for me to read the class book, for quiet reading or when their group is chosen for guided reading.

Reading Gladiators takes place after school on a Tuesday from 3.20 to 4.15pm. Since I have been the main leader of the group I made the decision to run the group after school as I felt it gave more time for purposeful discussion and activities.

In terms of how I choose the activities for each session i look at the discussion guide for inspiration and also think of ideas based on what we have read so far in the book. My favourite activity so far has to be when the group designed their own Wimbley Woos out of clay.

I collect the books at the end of the month and these are then allocated to either year 4 or 5 classes to use as guided reading sets.

Reading Gladiators has a high profile across the school. Children are genuinely proud to be chosen to take part in the programme. Something that really worked last year was when my group created a presentation to share with my new group. It meant the new group were aware of how the group works and gave them a sense of excitement about starting the group.

I hope that I continue to be the leader at my school so i can continue to inspire groups of children to love reading and immerse themselves in new texts. I know that children I taught last year in year 2 are already desperate to be chosen to take part!


Sophie Ainscough

Wentworth Primary, Essex