Year 2 2021

Welcome to the 2021 Reading Gladiators™ challenges. Let the reading begin!


  • Submission by Leedon Lower School

    Leedon Lower School Phoenix of Persia.

    The Phoenix of Persia;
    Imaginative, iridescent, intelligent
    Colourful, caring, colossal
    Pre-historic, perfumed, pretty
    Regenerating, reborn, rainbow
    Magic, motherly, mythological

    Download the file


    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 6th Jun 2021, 3:35pm
    You have certainly replicate the beautiful colours of the Phoenix here and some really originally adjectives too. I particularly love 'colossal' and 'perfumed'! Very well done!
  • Submission by Northumberland Heath Primary School

    ‘The Phoenix or Persia’

    'The Phoenix of Persia' has been an absolute joy for us to enjoy and share with our parents/carers. We loved the exotic feel of the story, as well as the moral teaching us not to judge people by their looks of expect people to be perfect.

    However, our absolute favourite thing about the book were the stunning illustrations! We had the most fun recreating the sgrafito technique used by Amin Hassanzadeh Sharif to produce our own simorgh collage. We first practiced the technique to see if pens or crayons worked better and discovered that crayons gave a nicer effect. Then, we covered whole pages of A4 paper with rainbow colours, before covering it over with black crayon and finally scraping away some of the black using cocktail sticks to reveal the beautiful colours underneath.

    To complete our picture, we cut out the shapes of the simorgh's body and some feather shapes before forming our own beautiful phoenix to display in the school Book Barn. We added our alliterative descriptions of the simorgh afterwards to surround our brilliant bird. Our descriptions included :

    Fabulous, fiery, phoenix
    Beautiful, brave, bird
    Amazing, awesome, Arabian
    Persian, pearly, perfect
    Rainbow, radiant, resistant
    Splendid, strong, Simorgh

    We hope you get as much pleasure from looking at our collage as we did producing it!

    Download the file


    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 6th Jun 2021, 3:25pm
    We have got enormous pleasure out of seeing your beautiful collage. It is so clever the artistic way in which you have put it together and your alliterative adjectives are excellent. We are delighted to hear that you have been sharing this title with parents and carers too. It is the kind of book that leaves a lasting impression on anyone who has the opportunity to peruse its pages.
  • Submission by Knockhall Primary School

    The Phoenix of Persia KHP Mini Challenge

    This is our submission for the Mini Challenge, celebrating our current book 'The Phoenix of Persia'. Here, you will see some of the children's pictures along with a phoenix feather that they worked together to colour in. There are also some groups of alliterative words that the children came up with after describing the Simorgh. Around our feather is our favourite group of alliterative words; fiery, feathery and friendly. We hope you like our feather and the drawings :)

    Download the file


    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 6th Jun 2021, 3:22pm
    Another beautiful collaboration from this group, with a good collection of alliterative adjectives too. Well done!
  • Week 2: The Phoenix of Persia

    The Year 2 Reading Gladiators were invited to watch a video of the beautiful picture book ‘Mrs Noah’s Pockets’, which featured many more mythical creatures originating from different legends and stories. As part of their weekly challenge, the children chose a mythical creature to draw and describe using alliterative words. It was wonderful to see the different drawings, including a very colourful unicorn! In the session itself, we had an awesome discussion about traditional tales that we grew up with, mostly fairy tales. We realised that ‘The Phoenix of Persia’ share some common themes from our favourite stories; in the sense that something magical happens, there’s a mythical, talking animal involved and the story focuses around a family with Royal status. We watched parts of an interview with former children’s laureate, Chris Riddell, and this helped us discuss fairy tales further.

  • ‘The Phoenix of Persia’ – Final week

    We have really enjoyed sharing this story together over the last few weeks. Today, for our final session on the book, we did a shared read with the beautiful accompanying music playing in the background. It created such a wonderful atmosphere and we were transported to Persia in our minds! After we had read the story, we compared it to some other stories that we have read and decided that it is a fairytale, because it contains magic, royal family and soldiers. We ended our session with a lovely discussion about whether animals can be mother/father figures towards humans. The decision we made was that they can because they can care for us, look after us and also teach us things, just like our Mums, Dads & carers do! We even made a comparison between the Simorgh & Baloo in ‘The Jungle Book’. We are so excited to start our next book after half term, we can’t wait!


    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 24th May 2021, 11:24pm
    What a lovely way to end your time with this rich text. We are so glad you enjoyed it. Your discussion sounds very thought provoking and a very clever link with Baloo!
  • Knockhall group leader joins the challenge

    Here you will find one of my own poems for the anthology. Inspired by something that I had seen during the October holiday, I decided to write a narrative poem, telling the story of what happened when a witch saw a mouse. I hope you like it.


    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 20th May 2021, 12:05pm
    It is particularly lovely to see a group leader contributing their own creativity to the challenges too; sharing books on an equal footing.
  • Submission by Knockhall Primary School

    Everybody Gather Round

    As we have been reading 'Poems Aloud', the Year 2 team at Knockhall Primary School have been working towards the Mini Challenge of creating an audio poetry performance. We all have enjoyed Joseph Coelho's poems, and for me, it was so wonderful to see the children grow in confidence when it came to performing the poems. They have been absolutely brilliant!

    We have also been inspired by the book to create our own anthology for the school library entitled 'Everybody Gather Round', which follows the same premise as Joseph Coelho's book; these poems were written to be performed.

    For our mini challenge, we have created a performance featuring readings of Coelho's poems as well as our own. Please find the audio clip attached along with two accompanying slides showing some of our poems.

    Download the file


    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 20th May 2021, 12:01pm
    This is exactly what reading poetry should do - excite, enthuse and inspire. Wonderful work Gladiators. The performance of poems - Joseph's and your own is delightful. From the uplifting Penguin to the ferocious Lion and sinister Praying Mantis - they were all read so well and lovely to have the group leader taking part too! The personification of a Laptop was brilliant! I think we are all guilty of staring at our screens and tickling our mousepads far too much!
  • Week 1: The Phoenix of Persia

    At home, the children created their own pictures of the Simorgh. They also came up with short descriptions about this mythical creature in preparation for the Mini Challenge. During the session itself, the children coloured in their own phoenix feathers and took turns in colouring in a bigger feather. Then, thinking about how they described the Simorgh previously, the children came up with a list of words to fill in a circle map. We then selected groups of alliterative words and chose our favourite group of words. You will see what we chose very soon! 🙂

  • Week 5: Poems Aloud

    The Year 2 team at Knockhall Primary School continued to write poems for a special anthology that will be shared within the school community. As well as Joseph Coelho’s poems, the children were inspired by the early personification poems written by Roger Hargreaves, the author of the Mr Men books. They chose an object to write as and they each wrote a great poem, showing the feelings and thoughts of their chosen item. During the session itself, we worked together to create a speedy, energetic poem about a brand new superhero, Invinci-Boy! It was such an amazing session, one of the best ever! 🙂

  • ‘The Phoenix of Persia’ – Week 3

    We loved practicing our sgrafitto technique this week, ready for our mini challenge entry! We felt like real book illustrators when we compared our work to Amin Hassanzadeh Sharif’s pictures.


    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 18th May 2021, 1:31pm
    We can't wait to see your entry. Sgraffito is so satisfying to do isn't it and you can create some really unusual results.
  • Week 4: Poems Aloud

    The children continued to work hard on their own collection of poems, writing new ones and drawing wonderful pictures to accompany them. We also continued to work towards our Mini Challenge, creating sound recordings for our audio performance. As well as reading their favourite poems from our book, we also recorded ourselves reading our favourite written poem.


    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 7th May 2021, 10:47am
    It is heart-warming to hear how much pride the children feel about their work with Reading Gladiators. Thank you for sharing in such detail what you have been doing.
  • Week 3: Poems Aloud

    The Year 2 team at Knockhall had been inspired by Joseph Coelho’s anthology to start writing their own collection of poems. Over the Easter holidays, we wrote at least three poems each based on our favourite things and memories. Some of the children were inspired by the Animal poems in our book to write their own. I’ve been amazed by their use of rhyme and rhythm, as well as their choice of words. During the session itself, we started to work on creating our audio performance for the Mini Challenge. It was wonderful to hear the children perform their favourite poems with great expression and magnificent enthusiasm 🙂


    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 7th May 2021, 10:28am
    Fantastic to hear that you are sharing your work and Joseph's with the Knockhall school community via a podcast. Admirable advocacy - keep it up Gladiators!
  • ‘The Phoenix of Persia’ – Week two

    The children came back this week, full of excitement at having shared the story with their parents. We revisited the story and had great fun with the choral reading! After that, we thought about how King Sam & Queen Aram felt when they had their much-longed-for baby and how their thoughts & feelings changed when King Sam saw the baby’s white hair. Our RG came up with some wonderfully rich vocabulary including – depressed, exhilarated & devastated. We cannot wait until our next session comes around!


    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 7th May 2021, 10:24am
    So good to hear about the children sharing this story with their parents.
  • The Phoenix of Persia – Week One

    We are so excited to finally have begun our RG journey 2021! The Year 2s were the first lucky group to launch yesterday. We had a fascinating discussion about the origins of the phoenix and mythical creatures in general. They remained entirely captivated throughout the whole story and were all so excited to go home and share the tale with their parents as well.


    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 21st Apr 2021, 9:10am
    It really is stunning isn't it. It is excellent to hear how enthusiastic your Gladiators are too.
  • Submission by Leedon Lower School

    Leedon Lower School perform their own poem – When I’m Excited.

    The Reading Gladiators have been very resilient for the past few weeks while they were on lockdown, then Mrs O'Reilly was shielding, then two of our bubbles closed and one stayed open so we couldn't meet. This was their version of Say How You Feel which they wrote together and then performed after only one practice. They're amazing says Mrs O'Reilly!

    Download the file


    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 6th Apr 2021, 10:39am
    I agree Mrs O Reilley! It is so important to share our feelings at the moment and what better way to do it than through poetry. I know Joseph Coelho will be delighted that he inspired you to create this expression of emotion. Very well done to you all.
  • Submission by Bridge Learning Campus

    Poems Aloud

    Year 2 submission to reading The Shockadile Crocodile

    Year 2 absolutely loved reading through the poems using different styles.

    The confidence the children have gained with reading the poems out loud is astonishing and considering how the past year has been we are all very proud of the children.

    Download the file


    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 6th Apr 2021, 10:30am
    Thank you Gladiators! A super performance - I felt the tension building towards the end and and was lovely to see you smiling when you reached the climatic reveal.
  • Submission by Knockhall Primary School

    Knockhall Primary The Misadventures of Frederick

    Download the file


    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 6th Apr 2021, 9:41am
    This is why we select books with rich language! Some excellent definitions from the children here.
  • Week 2: Poems Aloud

    The Year 2 team looked at the poem ‘Don’t Look Now’, and after taking turns performing it (in a whispered, anxious voice), we worked together to create our own version of the poem, taking inspiration from a classic Thomas the Tank Engine story. The poem will be featured in the group’s own anthology that’ll be shared with the rest of the school.

  • Week 1: Poems Aloud

    The Year 2 team started to look at the next book of their Reading Gladiators journey, Poems Aloud by Joseph Coelho. During the session, we chose some poems to read at random before focusing on the double page spread about animals. The children took turns in performing the poems, giving the animals different voices. It was such a delight to watch them and listen to their performances. For their weekly challenge, the children wrote their own animal poems to perform at a later date. On this update, you’ll see one of the children’s poems as well as my own.

  • Week 5: The Misadventures of Frederick

    This showcases the awesome home learning that has been taking place. To finish their journey with this book, the Year 2 team explored the works of Emma Chichester Clark further. They watched a video taken from a recent virtual event and listened to Emma reading one of her own stories. Then they had a go at drawing her characters, including Plum (who is based on her own dog). One of the children was lucky enough to have his drawing seen by Emma herself, and to have her comment on it through social media. What brilliant news! 🙂

  • Week 4: The Misadventures of Frederick

    The Year 2 team at Knockhall demonstrated some excellent home learning as they drew their own illustrations showing what could happen after the story had finished. They drew in the art style of the illustrator, Emma Chichester Clark, and created their own amazing pieces of art as a result. During the session itself, the team worked brilliantly together in fulfilling the mini challenge, creating a word hoard from the book.

  • Week 3: The Misadventures of Frederick

    During our first week back at Knockhall after the lock down, the Year 2 team looked at various examples of Chinese wallpaper designs, inspired by those shown in Frederick’s bedroom. They created beautiful sketches of them and wrote some amazing sentences to describe them, again based on Frederick’s choice of words.

  • Week 2: The Misadventures of Frederick

    While still learning from home during the third lock down, the Year 2 team came together through Google Meets to have our first discussion of the book. We talked about Emily and Frederick and compared both characters. In addition to this, we also thought about Frederick’s use of language in his letters to Emily. After the session, the children had a go at writing diary entries as Frederick while using similar use of language.

  • Week 1: The Misadventures of Frederick

    To begin their journey with this beautiful picture book, the Year 2 team at Knockhall wrote their predictions about what they thought could happen in the story. In addition to this, they looked at the first page closely and compared the setting to places that they knew. They also drew pictures based on their favourite illustrations from the first part of the book. It was an incredible start to their Reading Gladiators adventure 🙂

  • Welcome to Reading Gladiators 2020/2021

    We are so excited to finally launch Reading Gladiators 2020/2021. With new books and a new look on the website, you should be fully equipped to start your Reading Gladiators group in January. Your login will give you access to the guides. All the details you need are in the Running Your Reading Gladiators Group guide, including the mini-challenge dates for each title. We hope you enjoy the first title The Misadventures of Frederick and we look forward to meeting your groups online next term. In the mean time we wish you a happy and restful Christmas break.