Just Imagine’s Reading Gladiators™ challenges are annual school-based reading programmes designed to challenge and motivate readers who are reading, or have the potential to read, at greater depth in year 2, year 4 and year 6.

Reading Gladiators™ is a flexible programme and schools organise it in different ways, while sticking to the principles which underpin it, as these short case studies show:

Filton Avenue Primary School, Bristol

Holcombe Primary School, Bury

Felsted Primary School, Essex

Albert Pye School, Suffolk

The rigorous requirements of the  reading framework require deep engagement and response to texts. Reading Gladiators™ can help prepare pupils for these demands in an engaging way, within the context of reading for pleasure. Immersing children in quality, demanding and varied books. Participation in high level discussion helps develop deeper reading skills, builds reading stamina and helps to nurture adventurous readers.

Reading Gladiators™ targets higher attaining readers because these readers are often under-challenged by self-selection of texts. Furthermore, it creates reading advocates within a school who go on to inspire other children to become aspirational readers. Peer influence  and the impact on a culture of reading has been observed within many of our Reading Gladiators™ schools.

Each of our Reading Gladiators™ programmes presents children with challenging texts at a crucial stage: when children are becoming fluent and independent readers (year 2 programme), as they develop their reading identities (year 4 programme), and as they move up to new challenges (year 6 programme).

Book Selection

Gladiators read a curated selection of books across the year. Each book has been carefully chosen to extend the reading repertories of the children, with a range of genres represented. The curated collection is designed to move the readers from familiar reading material to more thoughtful, reflective reading. Gladiators encounter books by established and recently published authors. The year 2 and 4 programmes include a selection of 8 books per pupil. The year 6 programme has a selection of 6 books per pupil.

Discussion Guide

The accompanying guide  provides everything you need to know about Reading Gladiators™, providing  support that group leaders need to get the most from the programme. It includes ideas for running the group, creating a positive reading atmosphere and structuring the sessions. There are introductions to each author and text, discussion points, plus suggested activities to carry out  before, during and after reading each book.


The Reading Gladiators™ website is the main communication channel. This interactive website is a vibrant online space where groups showcase their work and share ideas. The website houses additional password protected content for group leaders including resources  and competitions.


Our easy-access webinars are an opportunity to participate in free CPD related to the Reading Gladiators™ books or themes. They take place at convenient times for teachers and are recorded and uploaded to the website so they can be accessed as needed. Although optional (Reading Gladiators™ works well independently of the webinars) they are a valued added aspect of the programme.


Children respond to the competitive aspect of this reading programme. The model is a sporting one in which teams collaborate to enter mini-challenges and take part in a final challenge at the end of the year. The challenges are designed to deepen responses and the prizes are book or reading related. Recent prizes have included sets of books, signed copies, artwork and even the chance to have afternoon tea with a featured author.

In regions where there are a sufficient number of schools/pupils participating, there is the additional possibility of a face to face challenge. These challenges are hosted by a participating school.  Just Imagine provides a format for the event and certificates for the children taking part. Schools are responsible for their own travel  and lunch arrangements.

Three Reading Gladiators™ Programmes are running October 2019 – June 2020

  • Year 2 (Deeper Reading)

  • Year 4 (Adventurous Reading)

  • Year 6 (Moving Up, Moving On)


For each of the Reading Gladiators ™ programmes you will receive,

  • 8 books for every pupil taking part in the challenge (years 2 and 4)

  • 6 books for every pupil taking part in the challenge (year 6)
  • A free teacher copy for every programme booked. Additional copies can be purchased

  • Discussion guide packed with learning ideas

  • E-newsletters with updates, competition and quiz news

  • Monthly mini-challenges with the chance to win prizes

  • Access to password-protected website content

  • Access to free webinars


Earlybird booking to 31st May 2019, these prices are per year, per group.

8 children’s copies and 1 teacher copy of each book

  £560 (ex VAT)**

Additional set price (anytime)

**per each year group programme

  £45 (ex VAT)

Note: Those with smaller groups (less than 8 pupils), please contact us for details.

From 1st June 2019

Please be advised that because we have additional printing costs for orders placed after the early bird booking closes, we are unable to offer late bookings at the earlybird reduced price.

8 children’s copies and 1 teacher copy of each book.

  £624(ex VAT)**

Additional set price (anytime)

**per each year group programme

  £45 (ex VAT)



For further information, or to book

Telephone 01621 855862

email gladiators@justimaginestorycentre.co.uk


Reading Gladiators™ Team

Nikki Gamble Director

Sara Stanley – Year 2 Manager

Caroline Bradley – Year 4 Manager

Sam Keeley – Year 6 Manager