Year 4

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

  • Song of the Dolphin Boy: Week 1

    The Year 4 RG team started a brand new adventure with their next book, ‘Song of the Dolphin Boy’. Before being given the book, the children shared with the group what they knew about dolphins already. After seeing a clip from BBC’s ‘Blue Planet’, we worked in two small teams to gather some facts about dolphins from copies of a book published by National Geographic. The children had a great time finding out different, fascinating facts about dolphins, which we shared as a group towards the end of our session. With their book finally revealed, the team thought about what they would like to find out throughout the term. Our ideas and findings were collected and written on a KWL grid.


    Wil Nicolaou 17th Mar 2022, 1:10pm
    Well done!
  • Song of the Dolphin Boy: Week 2

    After being introduced to the book in their previous session, the children read the poem about a dolphin selkie that begins the adventure. For their weekly challenge, they had a go at writing their own version of the poem, using some phrases and words from he original as well as their own. They used their knowledge of the poem as well as the blurb to make predictions about what the book would be about. Here, you will see some of the predictions as well as a selection of their poems.

    In our second session, we discussed the legend of selkies further and listened to Elizabeth Laird herself read the poem through a BBC video clip. The children then took turns to read their own poems to the rest of the group. It was a joy to listen to them all.

  • Song of the Dolphin Boy: Week 3

    For their weekly challenge, the Year 4 Reading Gladiators team created their own leaflets about dolphins. These leaflets formed part of the RG challenge, and were later shared with the rest of Year 4. You can see an example in this update.

    In our third session, we referred back to our book and discussed the dangers of plastic and other rubbish in our oceans. Our visiting book (or guest book) was ‘Ducks Overboard’ by Markus Motum. After listening to the story, we listed the different dangers that were highlighted and wrote ways on how to help protect our oceans on small colouring sheets based on Motum’s illustrations.

  • Song of the Dolphin Boy: Week 4

    In our previous session, the Year 4 RG team had a discussion about Finn, the main character of our book. We created a bubble map using ‘Canva’ to show what we knew about Finn so far. In our session this week, we continued to explore the story further by highlighting key events on a copy of the map showing Stromhead. The children did really well completing the map as a group.

    For their weekly challenge, they created posters to encourage others to protect our oceans and its creatures. You can see an example here. These posters were later shown to the Year 4 community as part of a presentation that we created to fulfil the RG challenge.

  • Song of the Dolphin Boy: Week 5

    For their weekly challenge, the children looked at the artwork of Peter Bailey, the illustrator of our book. They were given two illustrations to choose from and wrote their own short stories based on what they could see. The children proudly showed me their tales in our last session about this book and I was taken back by the amount of creativity that flowed through their writing.

    Such is the power of illustration. They can as thought-provoking as words and in many cases, they can tell stories in their own right. After reading these amazing stories, I’m looking forward to exploring the world of wordless books next term and widening their horizons further.

  • Let’s Celebrate: Song of the Dolphin Boy (Knockhall Primary School)

    For the RG Challenge, the team at Knockhall created a presentation to show to the rest of the Year 4 community. The presentation was about dolphins, our oceans and how to protect them. Using the facts that the children wrote in the previous sessions, I wrote a script for them to follow. In our last sessions, we read through the script and did a couple of rehearsals so that we could make any changes if we needed.

    We were able to give our presentation towards the end of term, and the children read their parts with superb confidence. They read the group’s findings clearly and both of the Year 4 classes listened attentively. The RG team should be proud of what they had achieved, and we hope the Year 4s have taken something from our presentation.

    As well as part of the script and a couple of images from our presentation, you can see more amazing posters made by two of the children.

  • ‘Umbrella Mouse’ – Week One

    Looking at the cover of the book, we did not expect it to be about WW2! We enjoyed researching a little bit about what happened in 1944 with the D Day landings, so that we can put the story into context. Lots of us have family members who fought in WW2 (some on different sides), so we were excited to share this information as well.
    The opening of the book also surprised us, but we are looking forward to reading on as the action begins to unfold…

  • Let your imagination soar!

    Heathrow Primary School Gladiators have made a start to the picture book, ‘Chalk Eagle ‘ by Nazli Tahvili. Inspired by the simple illustrations, coupled with ‘The Snowman’ animation, the children put chalk to paper to imagine what wonderful views an eagle might glimpse. We looked out the window of our classroom and followed the birds with our eyes, making links to our book club reader, ‘The Blue Planet’, where the children have the ability to fly using butterfly powder. Have a look at our pictures to see where we would go. We had many questions about this deceptively simple story and look forward to uncovering them all in the next session.

  • Stars with Flaming Tails Week 6

    Our Year 4 Gladiators have thoroughly enjoyed reading, performing and discussing Valerie Bloom’s poetry this half term. They have enthusiastically taken up the challenges of creating their own Elfje poems and reading their favourites from the book in a whole school assembly this week. They were extremely nervous but did an amazing job! We are so proud of them.

  • The Umbrella Mouse

    We feel as though we have learnt so much about WW2 from this story (we don’t usually learn about it until Year 6 – so we will be so knowledgeable when we get there!). The story itself has kept us all on the edge of our sofas when reading at home. Today, we practised our Readers Theatre script and analysed the scene afterwards. It was a lot of fun!

  • Spy Umbrellas for sale!

    Heathrow Primary School Gladiators designed special umbrellas to help with the war effort. They had to consider fabrics and specially concealed compartments within the umbrella to make it spy worthy. From bullet-proof fabric to bullet-holding handles, these designs would have certainly helped win the war.

  • ‘Stars With Flaming Tails’ – Week 5

    We are extremely excited to become Rhyming Raiders next week and share these wonderful poems with the rest of our year group. We have picked our 9 favourite verses and will enter the Year 4 classes (guerilla style – when they least expect it) to entertain them with our rhymes. Choosing our favourite was hard, as we love all the poems, but we believe our selection will have them laughing in their seats as well as getting them thinking. Don’t worry about missing all the fun – we’ll be uploading a video of our performance afterwards 🙂

  • ‘Stars with Flaming Tails’ – Week 4

    We began our session by looking at ‘Forest’ and using our visualisation skills to explore our five senses through the poem. It really enabled us to enter the poem’s setting and feel as though we were actually there.

    After that, we busted out our performance poetry skills with a rendition of ‘Don’t Do It’ in pairs. Some of us even put in actions with our performance (as you can see in our picture).

    The final poem we explored was ‘The Sea is a Wild Horse’. We absolutely love this poem and the images it creates in our minds. It’s clear that it is one of our favourites, because we were easily able to rearrange the lines into the correct order!

  • Robots through the decades!

    This term, Year 4 Reading Gladiators started their journey with ‘Runaway Robot’, a hilarious novel by Frank Cottrell-Boyce. The children had an enjoyable discussion about robots, thinking about all the droids they could recall from texts, movies and books. A few examples included Iron Man, The Iron Giant, Robocop, Optimus Prime, Transformers etc. After watching a You Tube video on Eric the Robot, and learning about how robots evolved over the decades, the children were inspired to do a bit of their own research to dig deeper! Here are few examples of our work. We were surprised to learn that Eric -the robot in our book – was actually the first robot created in 1928, in Britain, by First World War veteran Captain William Richards, and aircraft engineer Alan Reffell.


    Caroline Bradley 29th Nov 2021, 1:07pm
    We are so glad you are enjoying this title. It is fast becoming one of the most popular Year 4 Set A choices!
  • ‘Stars With Flaming Tails’ – Weeks 2 & 3

    Our performance poetry skills are really improving the more we share this wonderful poetry collection. In week 2, we read ‘Contrary Carl’ and our home challenge was to write our own version with a different character. We all decided that Carl is very annoying!

    During our week 3 session, we looked at ‘I Opened the Door’ and discussed its similarities with ‘The Poison Tree’ by William Blake. At first, we had a little trouble understanding some of the language used in the Victorian poem, but we picked it apart together and by the end we could draw a lot of comparisons between the two poems. It is clear that Valerie Bloom was inspired to write her on poem by the work of William Blake. Our home challenge for this week is to pick 5 poems from the collection and decided which form of poetry they each belong to. It was exciting to find out some new names of forms of poetry that we had never heard before. Our favourite new word is cinquain, because it sounds so funny to say! We are having so much fun sharing this collection with our friends and families as well as each other.


    Caroline Bradley 24th Nov 2021, 1:04pm
    My favourite line in your comment is 'we picked it apart together' That is exactly the kind of collaborative and supportive behaviour we would expect from Reading Gladiators. We are also delighted to hear that you are sharing this wonderful collection with friends and family -Bravo!
  • Let’s Celebrate: Runaway Robot

    A few weeks ago, the Year 4 RG team explored other books about robots and wrote reviews about them, writing either recommendations or reasons as to why they would like to read them. These reviews were put together to form an interactive Bookflix display, which I helped the group to make. Done on PowerPoint, this can be shown on the interactive whiteboards from the classroom computers. Here, you will see images from the PowerPoint and there’s also a PDF file to view as well. We hope you like our celebratory piece of work for ‘Runaway Robot’ and that you may pick up one of these books one day, if not all of them!


    Caroline Bradley 12th Nov 2021, 1:16pm
    Fantastic work! We are delighted with your enthusiasm for Runaway Robot and using it as a stepping stone to more books is just perfect.
  • Runaway Robot: Week 6

    For their Half Term challenge, the children completed a table of statements each, writing their own opinions of the comments provided. In our sixth and last session of ‘Runaway Robot’, the team shared their thoughts, which were written on a group table for us to see. The children also completed their own ‘Role on the Wall’ for Eric as an additional challenge, and we also looked at each one during the session. Once again, their ideas were gathered onto one ‘Role on the Wall’, which showcased the team’s efforts.

  • Runaway Robot: Week 5

    For their weekly challenge, the children used the information gathered on their research maps from their previous session and created informative fact files about Eric. Seeing them in our fifth session was an absolute joy. I was amazed by their neat presentation, their ability to organise facts into paragraphs and their wonderful drawings of Eric. A special mention to them in the school’s celebration assembly was a must. In the session itself, we watched video clips of other robots and had a debate over two statements given about robots in general. We came up with a list of advantages and disadvantages relating to each statement, which you can see on a table as part of this update.

  • Runaway Robot: Week 4

    During our fourth session of ‘Runaway Robot’, we made an exciting discovery; that Eric is based on a real life robot that was built in the late 1920s. The children were amazed by this and were very excited to find out more about him. After watching a video clip of the real Eric at the British Museum, the group read more about him and filled in a research map each. In the lead up to the session, the children completed their weekly challenge and created drawings of Eric representing different catchphrases. We hope you enjoy looking at the pictures and saying what you see!

  • Making Connections Padlet

    We’ve loved using Padlet to record our ideas and make connections between Isaiah and other characters from stories we’ve read. It really got us thinking about how characters are similar in so many ways….a bit like us!


    Caroline Bradley 5th Nov 2021, 9:23am
    Excellent connections Gladiators! 'The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh' and 'Me' are our favourites!
  • ‘Stars with Flaming Tails’ – Week One

    “A poetry book?!” – we all exclaimed when the book was revealed to us. The title had us predicting a story about stars falling to earth and causing a disaster, so we were shocked to discover that our new text is a poetry book.

    Our favourite heading is ‘Unbelievable?’, because we love finding out new things that might shock us. Playing ‘Flick and Stop’ was a lot of fun and we read so many poems to each other. ‘Strange’ and ‘Volcano’ were two of the highlights so far, as well as ‘Forest’. We have noticed metaphors, personification, rhyming and rhythms in the poems so far.

    Our challenge before the next session is to pick a poem and draw what we visualise in our minds as we are reading it. We are also going to practice our performance poetry skills by reading our favourite poems to our families at home.


    Caroline Bradley 1st Nov 2021, 4:18pm
    Fun is what Reading Gladiators is all about - we hope you have lots more of it as you progress through this superb poetry collection.
  • Pure Imagination

    Our Year 4 Reading Gladiators have really engaged with their first book of the year, The Tale of Angelino Brown. We have had fits of laughter throughout with the antics of Angelino and they loved acting out the theatre session. This montage was carried out with passion and enjoyment, just like Ms Monteverdi would have expected!


    Caroline Bradley 1st Nov 2021, 11:30am
    We are very pleased to see Reading Gladiators in the enjoyment column! Thank you for sharing your imaginative piece of art. Ms Monteverdi would be delighted with this work!
  • Runaway Robot

    We have loved reading this hilarious book over the last term and are excited to find out what our next book will be after half term. Our favourite part of the book was when Alfie first meets Eric and he sings ‘God save the king’ – it was so funny when we acted it out. Analysing the word ‘lost’ was really interesting for us, as we realised that people, robots and objects can all get lost, so maybe we aren’t all so different after all!


    Caroline Bradley 18th Oct 2021, 2:21pm
    Yes I think being 'unable to find your way' sums up elements of this story for both Alfie and Eric. Glad you enjoyed Frank's reading too! Humour is a vital ingredient in all his books for this age group.
  • Runaway Robot: Week 3

    Following from our previous session, the children had a go at designing their own robots as part of their weekly challenge. In the session itself, each child had a chance to showcase their robot and give a brief description of what it could do. I was amazed by the sheer amount of creativity shown through this activity. I especially like the candy making robot; such a sweet thought! We also started to look at a selection of other robot-themed books and decide on what RG rating we would give them. This is preparation for creating our Bookflix presentation to share with the rest of the school community. More is to come, so watch this space!


    Caroline Bradley 18th Oct 2021, 2:30pm
    Some more excellent robot creations from your group. We are looking forward to seeing your Bookflix.
  • Runaway Robot: Week 2

    After reading the beginning chapters of the book at home, we created a Role on the Wall for Alfie, identifying his thoughts and feelings while he was in the Lost Property area at the airport. Afterwards, we spent some time looking at the other robots that make an appearance in our story. We chose one to draw each and annotated our pictures with labels and quotations from the text. We all had a lovely time drawing our robots, myself included!


    Caroline Bradley 18th Oct 2021, 2:29pm
    Robots are indeed fascinating subjects. Some very creative designs here Gladiators.
  • Runaway Robot: Week 1

    The Year 4 Reading Gladiators team at Knockhall Primary School started their journey with ‘Runaway Robot’ the fantastically fun-filled novel by Frank Cottrell-Boyce. Before seeing the book, the children made a list of robots that they knew and drew a picture of their favourite robot to share with each other. They were then introduced to Eric through a draw along activity. I drew Eric on the whiteboard for the children to follow step-by-step with Steven Lenton’s video playing on the iPad. The final result was spectacular; the children’s drawings of Eric turned out brilliantly! To finish the session, the children listened to the Prologue with Alfie introducing the story.

  • Our Word of Mouse Wordrobe!

    This week, we explored some of Isaiah’s wonderfully creative vocabulary and displayed them on a ‘wordrobe’ so that we might explore their meanings and encourage others to think about some of their word choices.


    Caroline Bradley 12th Oct 2021, 4:01pm
    Wonderful wordy work Griffydam. Thank you for sharing.
  • Heathrow Women’s rights

    Heathrow Primary Gladiators have written stirring speeches championing Women’s Rights in the 19th century. Should women be allowed to vote? Do they deserve the same freedoms as men? Have a read of our persuasive speeches and let us know what you think.



    Caroline Bradley 13th Jul 2021, 10:01pm
    Some powerful thoughts here Gladiators and some creative ways of presenting your thoughts regarding women's rights! You've convinced me! Well done! You have learned so much from this story.
  • ‘The Closest Thing to Flying’ – Weeks 3 & 4

    This book has really inspired us to think about issues that we feel strongly about and that we would be willing to protest about or stand up for. We decided that we would protest for women’s rights, animal rights, against slavery and for alcohol to be banned.

    We also talked a lot about the strong female characters in the book and how Kittie inspired both Hen & Semira to fight for their freedom from oppression. Their bikes symbolise freedom and power for both girls, as they give them the opportunity to get away from what it is that is keeping them prisoner. Semira’s bike even gives her the confidence to stand up to Robel in the park. Our whole group had a great time acting out this scene and really got into their characters with passion and flair.

    We have really enjoyed reading the book and are so close to the end now, we almost don’t want it to end despite the fact that we can’t wait to find out what happens.


    Caroline Bradley 8th Jul 2021, 8:36pm
    I remember feeling the same. We get so close to the girls and their stories, it is hard to step away at the end - but that is testament to Gill Lewis's absorbing writing isn't it? We are looking forward to hearing your thoughts about the end of the story.
  • Week 5: The Umbrella Mouse

    For their Half Term challenge, the children worked on their short stories for our anthology. Here, you will see an extract from one of the children’s work along with his wonderful senses map. His story is about Rip, one of the many rescue dogs who saved many lives during the Blitz. In the session itself, as we were coming to the end of our journey with Pip, we chose a moment that stood out to us from the book and drew pictures of it, using the beautiful illustrations by Sam Usher to guide us. The children wrote key quotes relating to their chosen moment and gave their own descriptions to say what had happened and the significance of the event in relation to the story. They worked so hard in the session, and their drawings were amazing, really capturing Usher’s style🙂


    Caroline Bradley 8th Jul 2021, 8:32pm
    Goodness what a lot of writing! We are delighted to hear that your pupils have been inspired by Sam Usher's illustrations. Have you got his weather picture books in school?