Year 2

Each year, participating schools share the brilliant journeys that they take with Reading Gladiators

  • The Wall in the Middle of the Book

    We have really enjoyed sharing this book over Term 1. Here we are expressing our surprise at all the impossible things we had been discussing. Our two favourite things about this book are that it teaches you not to judge people/things by how they look and also because it uses the gutter in such a creative way rather than it being a wasted space. We love being Reading Gladiators and cannot wait to find out what our new book is going to be after half term.


    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 18th Oct 2021, 2:26pm
    We love this photo! and it sounds like you learned a lot from this very clever picturebook by the brilliant Jon Agee. We hope you have more of his books to share with your eager Gladiators.
  • The Misadventures of Frederick: Week 2

    The children have demonstrated some wonderful home learning, looking at the illustrative style of Emma Chichester Clark and recreating their favourite picture from the first pages of the book in her style. The attention to detail and the use of colour has been amazing to see. In the session itself, we discussed the benefits of being inside and outside. We had more benefits for being outside, which showed which one we prefer as a group. We also started on our Word Hoard, collecting unfamiliar words and putting them on a circle map to refer back to later in the coming weeks.

  • The Misadventures of Frederick: Week 1

    The Year 2 Reading Gladiators at Knockhall Primary School have started their journey with the beautifully illustrated book, ‘The Misadventures of Frederick’. In our first session, we had a discussion about the title page that showed Frederick’s grand home. As part of the discussion, we compared his home to places that we already know. I shared my own photographs of Dunster Castle in Somerset, and from them, the children had some lovely ideas about what the interior of Frederick’s home could look like. It was a great start to our RG adventure!


    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 18th Oct 2021, 2:27pm
    Excellent text to world context. Great to hear your discussion extended beyond the book.
  • Welcome to Reading Gladiators 2021/2022

    Welcome to Reading Gladiators 2021/2022. With new books and a new look on the website, sharing top quality titles with children has never been easier. Your login will give you access to the session guides and resources. All the details you need are in the Running Your Reading Gladiators Group introductory guide, including the key dates for the new Teachers’ book club sessions and LIVE author panel events. We hope you enjoy your first title. We can’t wait to meet your groups here in the online community and we look forward to hearing all about your first books very soon.

  • Week 2: Sasha and the Wolf Cub

    For their weekly challenge, the children were given an extract from the beginning of the first chapter only, and they created their own illustrations depicting the scene. There are some incredible details in these drawings; as always, they are beautiful to see. In the session itself, we all took turns in reading the first two chapters, with myself reading the first chapter and setting the scene, and the children reading the second chapter in pairs. There was such a magical atmosphere in our library as the children read so beautifully with wonderful expression. Afterwards, we talked more about the white steppe and thought about what could happen in the next chapter. It was a productive and thoughtful session, made memorable by the magnificent Year 2 Reading Gladiators of Knockhall😊

  • Week 1a: Sasha and the Wolf Cub

    In the lead up to our first session about our new book, I created this introduction poster on the iPad using KeyNote. This shows two different book covers, including our latest edition of the story, some illustrations from the book and some clues to the setting of the tale. The idea behind this poster is for the children to think about the book before reading it and encourage them to make their own predictions. I learned how to create this from a wonderful colleague at Knockhall , and it’s great to use a new skill in such a creative way. You will see the impact this poster has had on our session soon!


    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 8th Jul 2021, 8:23pm
    It is often beneficial to introduce a new book slowly, allowing thinking time and predicting what might lay ahead. It sounds like the tool you use is a useful resource for this kind of orientation activity.
  • Week 5: The Phoenix of Persia

    As our magical journey with this wonderful book came to an end, the children chose their favourite illustrations as part of their weekly challenge, and they recreated them through their own pieces of art. I enjoy seeing their drawings. They always make me smile as they are so beautiful to look at. In the session itself, we read the story together for the last time, creating an audio performance of our narration in the process to share with the Knockhall community. The children read the story beautifully and I could tell how confident they have grown as readers through this process. They should be so proud of what they have achieved as reading gladiators! 😊


    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 8th Jul 2021, 8:16pm
    Proud indeed! Well done Knockhall. Delighted to hear you are sharing your wonderful work with the rest of the school too.
  • Week 1b: Sasha and the Wolf Cub

    The children studied my introduction poster closely and from it, they came up with so many ideas about what could happen. A few children gave so much detail in their predictions, it was almost like they were coming up with their own imaginative stories on the spot. It was such a delight to listen to them, and hearing a couple of the children talk about Christmas even made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside! The excitement was certainly in the air as we began our journey with Sasha and the wolf cub!😀


    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 8th Jul 2021, 3:54pm
    It sounds like your group's prediction skills got a good workout with this activity. There aren't many who would embrace Christmas in June but Ann Jungman makes it irresistible anytime of the year!
  • ‘Sasha and the Wolfcub’ – Week Two

    As you can see, we relished getting back to Gladiators after a week’s hiatus and were so excited to be having our first experience of Readers’ Theatre! We really got into character (especially the playfulness of Ferdy) and had great fun performing the scene to the rest of the group. After that, we watched some Cossack dancing and even had a little try at it ourselves. We are all really enjoying this story and loving the challenge of a longer chapter book.


    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 8th Jul 2021, 3:18pm
    Readers Theatre is one of the most popular methods of exploring a text among the Reading Gladiators community. It looks like your group are totally throwing themselves into their roles!
  • Week 4: The Phoenix of Persia

    For their Half Term challenge, we had a go at creating our own tales of the Simorgh. The children responded as creatively as ever, and I was once again very impressed with their efforts and their wondrous imagination. Here, we have one of the stories that can be seen as a follow on from the book, with the introduction of a new character. I like how the author of this story has taken the key messages from the original into account and applied them to her own tale. It was a joy to listen to all of the stories when we returned to school. During the session, we also had a discussion about family. I shared a delightful news story from a few years ago with the group. It was about a caring dog who adopted nine little ducklings after they were found waddling alone. I thought this related well to our book and it sparked a lovely talk amongst the children full of wonderful ideas.


    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 8th Jul 2021, 3:31pm
    Wider discussion is was Reading Gladiators is all about. It sounds like you have made some meaningful connections and how wonderful for the children to relay their own Simorgh stories.
  • Week 3: The Phoenix of Persia

    Following from the previous session, the children chose their favourite fairy tales and either retold them or wrote new adaptations from them. Here, you have a retelling of ‘The Three Little Pigs’ and an adaptation of ‘The Princess and the Pea’, but this version is entitled ‘The Prince and the Sweetcorn’. The children’s creativity was celebrated in the session and they had the chance to perform their stories to the rest of the group. The Phoenix of Persia, along with the magical sound recording that accompanies it, has really inspired the children to think about adding expression to the tales that they read; hearing them read their own pieces of writing was an absolute joy! 😊


    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 8th Jul 2021, 3:20pm
    What a treat for you. Excellent text to text links and we agree the emotive music that was created for The Phoenix of Persia really brings the story to life.
  • ‘Sasha and the Wolfcub’ – Week One

    We were so excited to find out what our new book is! Our visualisation activity pictures were full of trees, wooden houses and lots of snow. We weren’t sure what a steppe was, so we couldn’t draw that, but afterwards we found out that it is ‘a large area of flat unforested grassland in South Eastern Europe or Siberia.’ We have realised that we don’t know very much about Russia, so we hope that reading this book will help to expand our knowledge. Looking at the pictures on the slideshow really helped us to get a feel for the setting of the story though and we think Sasha’s sleigh looks just like Santa’s! We enjoyed reading the first chapter together and can’t wait to read on with our parents at home.

    When we got back to our classroom after Gladiators, we shared the exciting news that we had won the mini challenge! Our whole class were so proud of us and we have displayed our phoenix with pride in our classroom for everyone to enjoy.


    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 16th Jun 2021, 11:59am
    We had much discussion about steppes when we decided to name one of the lands in The Reading Journey - The Spooky Steppe!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.