Each year, participating schools share the brilliant journeys that they take with Reading Gladiators
‘Mr Tiger, Betsy & the Blue Moon’
As you can see, our visualisation produced some very different front covers! This book seems so magical – so far we love Myrtle the mermaid, Mr Tiger with his clothes and the ice cream that Mr Glory makes sounds absolutely delicious! We even made up alliterative ice cream flavours for each of our names. Our favourite was Rio’s Ravishingly Rambunctious Raspberry Ripple.
‘Mr Tiger, Betsy and the Blue Moon’
We have been enjoying the story so much this term and have been having great discussions about the different characters. Today, we completed a role on the wall about Mr Tiger – as you can see, it’s very colourful! He is our favourite character, closely followed by Betsy.
‘Too Small Tola’ – Week 5
This week, we have been exploring Africa’s styles of the creative arts. As you can see from our picture, first we made some beautifully colourful batik-style patterns. Can you tell which character each one is for?
After that, we had immense fun learning some African dances and enjoying the afrobeat music. We could not believe how amazing those children are at dancing and how fast they are able to dance. It was tricky to follow and keep up with them, but we persevered and did our best!
‘Too Small Tola’ – Week 4
Our first experience of Readers Theatre was amazing!! For our weekly challenge, we had been practising our character voices when reading the book at home with our parents. As a result, we were very well warmed up to show our best acting skills. As you can see in our picture – Dapo, the rude rich woman and Tola’s meeting at the door was very intense. We even had some adlibbing, which made it even funnier.
Poems Aloud: Week 5
Following from their previous session, the Year 2 RG team at Knockhall wrote their own personification poems for their weekly challenge, taking inspiration from our book as well as Roger Hargreaves’ anthology, which we explored last week. Here, you will see two poems, one written as a car and the other as a airplane. All poems were such a joy to read.
In the session itself, we were joined by a visiting book; Michael Morpurgo’s new poetry book ‘Carnival of the Animals’. As well as this beautiful collection of poems, we enjoyed listening to the music of the same name, and after watching a colourful, funny animated segment featured in Disney’s ‘Fantasia 2000’, we came up with a group poem about a flamingo with a yo-yo. The session was so joyous, and we all had great fun performing it together afterwards!
Poems Aloud: Week 4
As part of their weekly challenge, the children read Joseph Coelho’s poems about feelings, describing how one would be experiencing when showing different emotions. Taking inspiration from this idea as well as the Disney film, ‘Inside Out’, the children wrote their own emotion poems. Many decided to write about how they feel when they are full of joy. Their poems in turn ended up being joyous, and a delight to read. In the session itself, we looked at personification and giving different objects voices and a chance go speak their mind. Roger Hargreaves’ book ‘I Am A Book’ was our visiting book, and the children enjoyed listening to a selection of poems contained within. They also read one of my poems, which I wrote after being inspired by this book a few years ago, writing as the sun.
Poems Aloud: Week 3
To start the new term, the Year 2 RG team read Joseph Coelho’s poem ‘Don’t Look Now’, taking turns in performing it using whispered, nervous voices. We then had a go at writing our own version of the poem, based on the classic ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’ story, Ghost Train, writing as Toby who warned Thomas about the ghost in question. Afterwards, the poem was read in the same whispered, nervous voice that was used for reading the original. The children had fun in looking at the story and coming up with their own group poem.
Then, in our third session, we were haunted by ‘a fraid of ghosts’ as we explored Oliver Jeffers’ new book ‘There’s A Ghost In This House’ (our visiting book). After listening to the story and looking at the pictures, we all wrote ghostly poems about seeing them in different places around the house. We enjoyed sharing them with each other afterwards, and so did the ghosts!
Poems Aloud: Week 2
Inspired by Joseph Coelho’s animal poems from our book, the children wrote their own animal poems as part of their Half Term challenge. They also wrote poems based on Michael Morpurgo’s retellings of Aesop’s Fables. I was so impressed with some of the poetry skills demonstrated by the group. These poems were a pleasure to read, and the team is looking forward to sharing them with our school in the near future.
Let’s Celebrate: The Misadventures of Frederick (Knockhall Primary School)
In our fourth session, we continued to work on our Word Hoard from a few weeks ago. We recapped on what words we spotted and where we found them. Some quotations were written around our group circle map to show the words in their context. Then, we found the meanings of some words in dictionaries and worked together to complete a table of definitions. It was a hard task, but the children didn’t stop trying and their efforts were brilliant the whole way through!
Poems Aloud: Week 1
The Year 2 Reading Gladiators team at Knockhall Primary School started a new journey with a new book, which also happens to be one of my favourites. The book in question is Joseph Coelho’s wonderful and colourful anthology of poems, ‘Poems Aloud’. To start our journey, we had a discussion about what poetry is and we watched a couple of videos featuring Joseph Coelho himself, explaining how to perform poetry, a key element to our book. After being given their books, the children read the four animal poems that appear in the book and they each took turns in performing their favourite whilst giving their animal a different voice. It was so wonderful to listen to the children and see them enjoy performing the poems to each other.
The Misadventures of Frederick: Week 4
In the lead up to their fourth session of Reading Gladiators, the Year 2 team at Knockhall drew wonderful pictures showing what might happen after the ending of the story. For their weekly challenge, they created their illustrated predictions using a similar art style to that of the illustrator, Emma Chichester Clark. Seeing the drawings and seeing how proud the children were of their efforts gave me immense joy. It was a nice way to start our fourth and last session exploring this delightful book.
The Misadventures of Frederick: Week 3
As they continued to explore the world of Frederick and Emily, the Year 2 Reading Gladiators team at Knockhall Primary School took some time during the third session to look at different examples of Chinese wallpaper (cared for at different properties owned by the National Trust). Inspired by those shown in Frederick’s bedroom, the children looked at various wallpaper designs depicting both flora and fauna. They created drawings based on the examples and as well as this, we described the scenes using detailed descriptions and wonderful adjectives, just like Frederick in the book. Also, in the lead up to National Poetry Day, we came up with our own poem about a heron and a duck after being inspired by two of the designs.
‘Too Small Tola’ – Weeks 2 & 3
We are absolutely loving the stories in this book and were entranced by the pictures of Atinuke sharing her stories. They inspired us to use facial expressions, different voices and lots of movement when we were retelling our storyboard.
The stories in this book make us think a lot about how fortunate we are to live where we do and have constant access to clean water and electricity. We feel so sorry for Tola and the people who live in her community, but we also notice how it changes their priorities and makes them value different things to us. The most important things to them are food, water, family and their community – they are mostly so caring about each other and work together to make their lives as good as they can be.
We ended our third session by discussing the similarities and differences between Easter and Eid. We have both Christian and Muslim children in our group, so we could get a first hand insight into how the festivals are celebrated. We talked a lot about the different kinds of food that are eaten during the celebrations and the reasons behind the fasting that takes place before them.
‘Too Small Tola’ – Week One
We are so excited that our story is set in Nigeria, because last term in class we learnt all about Africa and the water crisis that is happening on the continent. Luckily, we also have a Reading Gladiator whose family are from Nigeria, so we can get a real insight into what the country is like.
Today, we talked a lot about Lagos and how different a place it can be depending on whether you are rich or poor. We drew comparisons with other countries that our families are from – such as Lithuania and India, as we have seen run-down apartment blocks like Tola’s in those countries as well.
It was fun thinking about an adjective that our families would use to describe us – we had sporty, funny, smart, clever, creative among others.
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.
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!
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!
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! 😊
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!😀
‘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.
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.
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! 😊
‘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.
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!
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.
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! 🙂