Year 4

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

  • ‘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?
  • Week 4: The Umbrella Mouse

    Inspired by the courageous animals who served during the Second World War, the Year 4 Reading Gladiators started to create a special book for the school library at Knockhall; an anthology of short stories about the brave rescue dogs and carrier pigeons who were later awarded the Dickin Medal. We were inspired by David Long’s beautiful book as well as ‘The Umbrella Mouse’, but we planned to write our stories in first person rather than third, as so to give the animals themselves a chance to tell their heroic tales from their perspective and giving them a voice. In our session, we started work on our anthology with a group story about Royal Blue, a pigeon who was owned by King George VI and was later given the Dickin Medal for being the first pigeon to deliver a message from an aircraft forced to land in enemy territory.


    Caroline Bradley 8th Jul 2021, 8:27pm
    Your research and anthology sound fascinating and it is excellent to hear that you have also been inspired by the further reading recommendations.
  • ‘The Closest Thing to Flying’ – Weeks One & Two

    We are really enjoying this book, especially the historical aspects and seeing the differences between Victorian times and now. We had so much to say when we were comparing the two different parts of the front cover and even noticed some things that our teacher hadn’t!. All of us agree that Robel is not a nice man at all and we want Semira and her Mum to be able to escape from him and be free. We cannot wait to find out what happens further on in the story…


    Caroline Bradley 8th Jul 2021, 3:36pm
    Gill Lewis certainly draws the reader in to this fascinating story in the opening chapters. Both girls have the reader cheering them on and wishing them well. I don't think your group will be disappointed.
    Caroline Bradley 8th Jul 2021, 3:49pm
    I still spot details in the cover after looking at it for two years!
  • Camera, Lights, Action!

    Heathrow Primary School Gladiators enjoyed dramatising a scene from ‘The Umbrella Mouse’. The children had to think about using their body language, gestures and expression to bring this scene to life. They had great fun in performing this!


  • Week 3: The Umbrella Mouse

    The children continued to read about Pip’s quest and in the session, we discussed more about Pip as a character. We wrote adjectives to describe her personality within a circle map and included examples from the story so far around it. We also explored more about the incredible rescue dogs and brave carrier pigeons who served during the Second World War and were later awarded with the Dickin Medal.

  • Week 2: The Umbrella Mouse

    As part of their weekly challenge, the children looked at different pictures of the actual umbrella shop in London, James Smiths and Sons, along with an online video showing a tour of the place. Using these resources, they had a go at writing descriptions about the shop. One child wrote his description so vividly it was as if he had actually been there himself. During the session, we started to read about the Dickin Medal and its recipients, including GI Joe, who is featured in our book.

  • Week 1: The Umbrella Mouse

    Before reading their next book, the Year 4 Reading Gladiators created fact files about the Second World War as part of their weekly challenge. This helped the children to understand the setting of their book and the events that took place during this hard, dark time.

  • Themes in ‘The Umbrella Mouse’ 2


    Caroline Bradley 24th May 2021, 11:26pm
    Brilliant comparisons with other texts. You will be theme detectives now...spotting all sorts of connections between the books you read.
  • Themes in ‘The Umbrella Mouse’

    We also examined major themes from the novel and had philosophical discussions about what they meant. It was brilliant to see the children making text to text links by finding similarities between ‘The Umbrella Mouse’ and ‘The Runaway Robot’, as well as linking their learning to our class text – Macbeth. Have a read of what the themes meant to them.


    Caroline Bradley 24th May 2021, 11:28pm
    Madame Fourcade and Pip are inspirational characters. It looks like they have taught you a lot about life.
  • Who to Trust 4


    Caroline Bradley 24th May 2021, 11:17pm
    These annotated illustrations show a brilliant understanding of the story so far. I can spot characterisation in the speech bubbles and some excellent observations about trust in a wider context. Well done Gladiators!
  • Who to Trust 3

  • Who to Trust 2