Each year, participating schools share the brilliant journeys that they take with Reading Gladiators
‘The Boy Who Met a Whale’ – Week 4
We did a lot of reading today, which was lovely to do together. Our reading aloud has improved so much as we have travelled on our gladiator journey and we love listening to each other read. Our freeze frames of the scene where the children finally discover the Captain’s treasure chest caused much hilarity!
‘The Boy who Met a Whale’ – Celebrate and Create – NHP
We hope you enjoy our comic strip! We each took one of the freeze frame scenes from last week and recreated it on A3 paper, using lots of colour and thinking about trying to capture a similar mood to the front cover of the book.
We have been enjoying exploring this book over the last few weeks. Bea & Yutu seem worlds away from each other in all respects at first, but as the story progresses, you realise how similar they actually are. This week was our drama week – freeze frames, hot seating and readers theatre. It has really enabled us to understand the characters and put ourselves in their shoes.
‘The Children of Swallow Fell’ – Week One
Our discussion about what you really need to be happy was eye-opening. We all have quite different views on the subject, but most of us picked things that would come under the category of people (we are all very sociable and loving!). We found it interesting that only one of the group mentioned food and drink and having somewhere to live.
When it came to picking items to fit in just one bag we hoped that the bag would be like Hermione’s charmed bag in Harry Potter so that we could fit our family and friends inside! However, we realised that in reality we would have to just take the bare essentials if we were forced to flee our homes. We all agreed that food, money, clothing, shelter, books and something to communicate with would all be essentials.
It was shocking to discover that the city was bombed in Chapter One and it made us start to think about what it would be like if that happened in our town. We hope that Marta is ok and responds to Isabella’s message.
‘The Children of Swallow Fell’
We have loved studying this book over the last few weeks. The similarities between it and ‘Where the World Turns Wild’ are so strong. Rowan and Kelda are very reminiscent of Juniper and Bear, as well as there being a sickness in both books. Today, we enjoyed performing our readers’ theatre, as you can see from our picture. The Northern accents were interesting to try! 🙂
‘Where the World Turns Wild’ – Week 5
This week was all about mother figures and maternal instincts. First, we made a circle map of all the characteristics we associate with mothers. After that, we talked about all the different characters in the book that display this characteristics. It surprised us to realise that not all of these were mothers or even female! Ghost, Juniper, Bear, Annie-Rose and Violet all display some sort of mothering characteristics at some point in the story.
We finished our session with a discussion about whether your ‘mama’ has to be someone who is biologically related to you. The debate was wonderful and enabled us to come to the agreement that a ‘mama’ can be human or animal – as long as they make you feel loved and comforted it doesn’t matter at all.
‘Where the World Turns Wild’ – Week 4
This week was all about nature for us. We began by discussing the wonderful and helpful things about nature, but then we looked at how nature can actually harm us. After looking at lots of natural disasters around the world, we thought about the similarities between the virus in the book and what is going on in the world at the moment with covid. Even though nothing quite as extreme has happened like in the book in terms of being shut off from the outside world, we could draw comparisons with lockdown and how isolated everybody felt. It brought home to us the importance of nature though, as our daily exercise during lockdown is what kept us happy!
After that, as you can see from our picture, we quizzed ourselves on our knowledge of different birds. We discovered that we have a couple of budding ornithologists in our group, who seem to know a lot about birds and their habits (particularly owls). Bear finds birds so fascinating even though he’s never been able to see one in real life – we can see why the bird book is so precious to him. At our school, we have lots of parakeets that fly into our playground and land in the trees. We feel so fortunate to be able to see them and we know that Bear would absolutely love to come to our school!
The Boy Who Met a Whale.
This term we have been reading the thrilling book ‘The Boy Who Met a Whale’. We have found the book exhilarating, with the adventure of Zheng , Razi and Shifa.
In week one we had an excellent discussion about the title of the book, and what we thought the story was about. Furthermore, children began designing there own leaflet about the island of Sri Lanka.
In week 2 we had a quality quescussion with children posing questions about what the would like to know more about. As we read on, children tried to answer as many of the questions as possible.
Week 3 started with us comparing the characters of Zheng and Razi. Children had some in-depth thoughts of their personalities and how alike both characters lives had been. In addition, we were set the assignment of researching information about whales – to present to each other the following week. This week we presented facts about Whales, this resulted in some brilliant presentation pieces! We then created an emotions chart about how Razi was dealing with grief. This led us to have an excellent discussion about how people deal with grief in different ways. We cant wait to see what next week brings!
‘Where the World Turns Wild’ – Weeks 2 & 3
We began our second session with some readers’ theatre, which we absolutely loved! There was some excellent acting on display. The other children are so mean to Juniper & Bear – we feel really sorry for how isolated and intimidated they must have felt. Our word hoard is now brimming with wonderful words and their meanings that we will revisit at the beginning of each session.
Week 3 began with us drawing an extremely colourful map of the story’s setting (as you can see from the picture). It was great to be able to capture on paper exactly what we think the city, the wild and the buffer zone all look like. Our favourite part is the wild of course and our least favourite part is the Institute, because its so unfair that anyone has to go there!
We adored finding out what the characters names mean – they are all so apt for their personalities! Even more exciting was us finding out what our names mean – we have beautiful, an inn owner and pure/innocent among others.
‘Where the World Turns Wild’ – Week One
We all agree that we have never seen a book with so much going on on the front cover! It enabled us to predict that the book was going to be about nature, but we were flabbergasted when our teacher asked us to imagine that we had never seen nature before. We decided that we would feel a mixture of both fear and excitement when we were exposed to nature for the first time. The noises, smells and sights may even have been too overwhelming for us entirely. So many questions arose, such as – Will it hurt me? Can I touch it? Where does it end? It would be a truly mesmerising experience to view nature for the first time!
The Dam: Week 3
The children shared their wonderful drawings with me, and some showed me their beautiful retellings of the story that they wrote as part of the weekly challenge. Here, you will see one child’s piece of writing that features his own amazing descriptions and phrases, as well as adaptations of those written by David Almond.
The Dam: Week 2
After listening to the story last week, the children looked at ‘The Dam’ in greater depth at home. For their weekly challenge, they focused on the illustrations in particular. They chose a picture that stood out to them and created their own drawing based on it. They wrote a brief description of what was happening and what their chosen illustration meant to them. In our update, you will see some of Pinfold’s illustrations from the book, some of which the children had been inspired by. In the session, we discussed the advantages and disadvantages of change. I shared a story of change that happened when I was working at my old secondary school, Hextable School. Sadly, it was closed in 2016, but the buildings still stands, empty and quiet. The children were intrigued by the photographs that I showed them and we could make links from what happened to Hextable School to the events of our book, thus discussing change in greater detail.
The Dam: Week 1
The Year 5 Reading Gladiators team at Knockhall Primary School started their journey with ‘The Dam’, a haunting yet beautiful picture book written by David Almond and illustrated by Levi Pinfold. This was a book that I explored before with a previous group, so it was lovely to share it again with the Year 5s. In our first session, the children were given the illustration of the front cover without any words. From this alone, they made predictions about what the book could be about. There were some interesting ideas as you can see on our table. The children were intrigued when the title was revealed to them. To finish, I read the story to them with Claude DeBussy ‘s ‘Clair du Lune’ playing in the background.
We have loved reading ‘Troofriend’ this term and feel as though we have really been able to empathise with the characters and see elements of them in ourselves (even Ivy). Having read ‘Runaway Robot’ as Reading Gladiators in Year 4 – we could draw a lot of comparisons between how robots are portrayed in both books. In the picture, we were analysing the word belongings and talking about our favourite possessions and how we would feel if we lost them or someone stole them. It really made us think twice about coveting someone else’s things! We are excited to discover what next term’s book holds in store for us.
Troofriend – Weeks 1 & 2
We are so excited to be Reading Gladiators again this year and have also welcomed our new members with open arms. ‘Troofriend’ has been an excellent book so far and we are looking forward to seeing how the relationship develops between Sarah & Ivy. We all have a feeling that things may go very wrong between them!
In our first session, we were introduced to the book and had a great discussion about android rights. Eventually deciding that they should definitely be given the same rights as humans, because they are so similar to us and can even be sentient – like Ivy.
We have just finished our second session where we experienced Readers’ Theatre – we really immersed ourselves in our characters and there were some great robot voices as well as some very sassy Sarahs.
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 1: Troofriend
Using the iPads and a fantastic website called Padlet, the Year 5 Reading Gladiators at Knockhall created their own discussion board, thinking about their new book and its many themes. We thought about robots and androids, sharing what we knew about them already and what ones we knew from real life and fiction. We also thought about anthropomorphic characters from books, TV and film. One key part of the discussion was how we connect with these characters, and the children made valid points about sharing the same emotions as the characters. They could also make connections with their own experiences, so that they could show empathy for the characters. It was an informative discussion and using Padlet helped to bring it all to life. Here, you will see circle maps from our ideas and some quotes from the Padlet, which ended up quite big to upload!
Week 3: Troofriend
Throughout our journey with Ivy, we have been thinking more about the possibility of androids being able to understand and experience different emotions. This week, the children explored this idea further through the ultimate creative writing challenge – 3 different activities to be completed in 30 minutes. All the activities were based around robots and androids. The first activity involved writing short stories about an abandoned robot based on a drawing by Chris Riddell. The children wrote poems based on the artwork of Matt Dixon for the second activity, and to finish, they wrote monologues as Ivy, which concluded the session nicely. The session was truly productive as well as creative. It was such a joy to read the children’s work. They should be so proud of themselves! 😀
Week 2: Troofriend
The Year 5 Reading Gladiators at Knockhall continued to read ‘Troofriend’, learning more about Ivy and her relationship with Sarah. In our session, we looked at another robot adventure, featuring two old favourite characters, Dennis and Gnasher. We watched clips from an episode of the cartoon series and explored the character of Jacques in great detail. The children came up with some fascinating points and by the end of the session, we came up with a fabulous double bubble map as well as an interesting comparison table. Our discussion was later shared on Twitter and we had some wonderful feedback from Kirsty Applebaum herself, saying that she loved the comparison. For me, who planned the activity, it was such a splendid complement. The children made it successful with their fantastic ideas and awesome input 😀
Week 5: Where the World Turns Wild
The Year 5 Reading Gladiators at Knockhall Primary School continued to work on their anthology of nature poems to share with the school community. Here, you will see two beautiful poems about lavender and violets, both are inspired by the works of Chrissie Gittins. In the session, we celebrated our love for books, thinking about two wonderful quotes from ‘Where the World Turns Wild’. We bought in a selection of our favourite books and discussed them with the rest of the group. Our focus book was mentioned, along with some old favourites, including ‘The Gruffalo’ and ‘Awful Auntie’. As for me, I shared with the group one of my favourite books from the whole of Reading Gladiators, ‘The Umbrella Mouse’. The children were very interested to hear about the storyline and how the author was inspired by the actual stories of the brave animals that served during the Second World War. I hope that they will have the chance to explore this book for themselves.
Week 4: Where the World Turns Wild
The Year 5 Reading Gladiators celebrated nature through poetry, taking inspiration from the beautiful book ‘The Lost Words’ as well as an old favourite, ‘Adder Bluebell Lobster’. In the session, we looked at some poems from ‘The Lost Words’ and created our own pieces of writing. It was remarkable to see how the children used their words to string together their own magical poems. For the weekly challenge, they revisited Chrissie Gittins’ anthology and wrote new poems based on some of the titles. It was great to look back at Gittins’ poetry and once again, it was lovely to read the children’s poems. They are truly talented poets and with the way we have been celebrating nature through this method, we are on our way now to making our own anthology of nature poems to share with the school! How exciting!😁
‘Troofriend’ – Weeks 2 & 3
We had great fun during Readers’ Theatre (as you can see) – it is our favourite RG activity! Everyone got so into character – we had a very stroppy Sarah, an over-enthusiastic Mum & our android’s voice was spot on. After our acting, we had a great conversation about the ethics surrounding the use of androids and made some excellent predictions about how the story could possibly continue to unfold.
‘Troofriend’ – Week One
Even just the front cover of this book sparked an exceptionally intense discussion about the similarities and differences between robots and humans. One of our group is a real tech wizard, so he is especially excited about the subject matter of ‘Troofriend’.
‘Where the World Turns Wild’ – Final Week
To say that we have enjoyed this book would be a huge understatement. We all agree that it is definitely the most wonderful book we have read all year! We spent our last session of this term preparing our mini challenge entry. First, we went on a nature walk and collected lots of sticks, leaves and other natural things to use. After that, we used quotes and illustrations from the book to prepare a display encouraging other children to care for the wild as much as Juniper, Bear and the NHP Year 5 Reading Gladiators do!
Week 3: Where The World Turns Wild
We have been lucky to have the author of our book, Nicola Penfold, give us positive feedback for our work through Twitter. Recently, I was able to get in contact with Nicola herself and she was happy for me to share with her any questions the children might have about her book. During our second week of exploring her story, the children were given a grand opportunity to submit some questions for me to pass on, and Nicola was kind to answer them in great detail. The children were excited to have their questions answered by the author herself, and it’s continuing to be a pleasure to share our work with her on Twitter. We were able to finish our ladybird pebbles during our session. They looked awesome! We are so proud of them, and Nicola herself complemented us for our artistic efforts 🙂
Week 2: Where the World Turns Wild
For their weekly challenge, the children thought about their own experiences with nature and were invited to write a recount of 100 words about a memorable moment. One child wrote about a fox that his family rescued and taking part in the challenge as well, I wrote about an incredible encounter with a ladybird during my October holiday in Norfolk last year. The children enjoyed reading my own ladybird story. During the session itself, we started to make our own ladybirds, painting some pebbles red and getting them ready for the next session when we would be adding more details to them.
Week 1: Where the World Turns Wild
The Year 5 team started to read their new book, written by Nicola Penfold. Celebrating our love for nature, the children created wonderful drawings of their favourite creatures, with the help of Rob Biddulph and his amazing draw along videos. I drew a picture of my own with them, and asking the children what creature they would like me to draw, I ended up drawing an adorable, little robin.
‘Where the World Turns Wild – Week 4
We are tantalisingly close to the end of this inspiring book! This week, we began our session by debating the beautiful and dangerous aspects of the wild. After that, we expanded our knowledge of the natural world (especially birds and plants). We ended with a group read of Chapter 53 and a revisit of ‘Adder, Bluebell, Lobster’, which we absolutely loved doing, as it was our favourite text from Yr 4 RG. Here we are adding some of the lost natural words from the book to our hoard!
‘Where the World Turns Wild’ – Week 3
We absolutely love this book! This week, we invested a lot of time creating our map of the city, with the buffer zone all around and the tantalising beauty of the wild beyond. After that, we found some new additions for our word hoard and had so much fun discovering the meanings of our names and those of the characters in the book. We discovered that one of our members’ names has the same meaning as Juniper’s! We also discovered that our class teacher’s name means warrior. We ended our session with a choral read of the beginning of the wild part of the book. It just gets better and better!
Week 4: Tamarind and the Star of Ishta
The Year 5 Reading Gladiators at Knockhall started to work on the Mini Challenge of creating a piece of art work relating to the Star of Ishta, featuring key words and notes about their book. The children were given part of the star to colour in at home. Then, at school, they put their coloured pieces together to complete the star. It soon became a stunning piece of collaborative art. In the session itself, we watched a series of videos with the author, Jasbinder Bilan, talking about her first book, ‘Asha and the Spirit Bird’. Amongst the videos was a writing challenge set by Jasbinder herself, which we rose up to and created our own spirit animals. The weekly challenge for all of us (myself included) was to write a short story about our spirit creatures. Here, you will see extracts from two of the children’s stories.