Year 6

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

  • 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 3: The One That Got Away

    As well as working on their main short stories for our anthology, the children read a selection of tales from Jan Mark’s book and wrote story reviews about them. Here, you will see three reviews about the tales ‘Chutzpah’, ‘Charming’ and ‘In Black and White’.

  • Week 2: The One That Got Away

    As the children continued to explore Jan Mark’s anthology, the team took the opportunity to look at other examples during the sessions. In this case, the team read a few extracts from Shaun Tan’s visually stunning book ‘Tales from the Inner City’, and taking inspiration from the selection, they wrote their own short stories based on the illustrations. It was an absolute joy to read them! I was amazed and taken back by their magnificent creativity and story telling abilities. I was beyond impressed! I especially love the cliff hangers; these captured the mysterious atmosphere of some of Jan Mark’s tales. These stories were going towards our own anthology, which we started to work on for the school library. This was an awesome start to our project, and I can’t wait to see what other stories we come up with!😀

  • Week 1: The One That Got Away

    In the lead up to our first session about our new book, I invited the children to look through my own anthology of short stories, to help them understand the concept behind anthologies and how one can choose the stories that they would like to read from them. As a passionate writer, it was very interesting to hear what some of the children thought about them, and it was a joy to know that they liked them. In the session itself, I introduced Jan Mark’s anthology through some role play, with a little help of a mischievous, miniature bat called Dennis (named after the Maker of Mischief himself). The children were confused and bewildered by the sight of a small match box with a miniature bat inside. They were soon aghast when they found out the truth. Putting their thoughts to paper, their words came together to form the group’s own version of ‘The One That Got Away’ – one of the children came up with an awesome title, which summed up the whole event brilliantly!😁

  • Week 4: The Space We’re In

    To finish our journey with Frank and Max, the Year 6 Reading Gladiators used iPads with the website Padlet to create their own discussion board, showing what they had learned about autism from reading the book as well as the new ideas and thoughts that they have gained. It was an informative, productive discussion and I could not help but be proud of my group for what they had achieved during the course of reading this book🙂

  • Week 3: The Space We’re In

    For the Half Term challenge, the Year 6 Reading Gladiators were given extracts from Libby Scott’s wonderful book ‘Can You See Me?’, which focuses on Tilly, a girl with autism. The book is based on Libby’s own experiences and gaining ideas from Tilly’s diary entries, the children had a go at writing their own entries, taking on the role of either a different character or Max as a teenager. When I read through the entries, I was taken back by how much understanding and empathy the children have towards those with autism. As someone with Asperger’s Syndrome, I truly appreciate the children being open minded and see that despite the difficulties, people on the Autistic Spectrum can still achieve so much. It’s been an honour to share my own experiences with the team and bless them for allowing me to be me.

  • ‘The One That Got Away’ – Week Two

    After a week’s hiatus, we were excited to get back to our Gladiators session this week and share the short stories that we had read. ‘Birthday Girl’ seems to have been a favourite with us all – we loved the ghostly, supernatural nature of the tale. Today, we enjoyed reading ‘Nothing to be Afraid of’ and analysing the relationship between Anthea and Robin. We compared them to ourselves and younger siblings, agreeing that we all try to scare them in a fun and playful way. It was so clear at the end of the story that Robin enjoyed playing with Anthea, as he asked to go to the park again!


    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 8th Jul 2021, 3:33pm
    Nothing to Be Afraid Of was a favourite of mine when it was first published! and yes Birthday Girl is delightfully chilling. Glad to hear you are enjoying these well written short stories - such wonderful inspiration for the children's own writing.
  • ‘The One That Got Away’ – Week One

    Well, what can we say? – our first session with this text was very eventful! Miss O’Rourke tried to fool us with her creature in a matchbox and even though we weren’t all entirely convinced that it was real, we got swept away by the excitement of the situation and chaos ensued. So much so, that one of our PE coaches came in to check that everything was ok, because he had heard the commotion outside! It was so funny, we are obviously excellent actors.

    After introducing the book and having a look at the titles, we picked our favourite one and designed an alternative front cover for the anthology with the title that we had picked. We love the fact that we have the freedom to choose which stories really catch our eye to read before next week and we are excited to share our thoughts with the rest of the group.


    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 16th Jun 2021, 11:54am
    There is such a buzz coming from this post - thank you for sharing your success with week 1. Oh to have been a fly on the wall! Your cover alternatives are great too!
  • Art isn’t a code… or is it?

    While we were working towards the Mini Challenge, the Year 6 Reading Gladiators at Knockhall Primary School looked at the Golden Ratio in more detail. This concept was mentioned in our book, ‘The Space We’re In’ with Frank saying afterwards that art wasn’t a code. He thought the Golden Ratio was nothing but a swirly line. During one of our sessions, we put this statement to the test by using templates of the Golden Ratio to create our own drawings. This activity inspired us to think about Frank’s quote further and the children submitted their opinions to me so that they could be included on this poster, along with their amazing artwork. We leave you now to come up with your own opinions on the matter. Is art a code or do you think otherwise?🤔


    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 16th Jun 2021, 11:52am
    It is fascinating isn't it. Looks like you had a great discussion with some good evidence to support your points.
  • Week 2: The Space We’re In

    As part of their weekly challenge, the children were asked to create their codes using the code key on the front page of our book. I took part in the challenge too, so that when the codes were gathered together, a game was created similar to that shown on the quiz show ‘House of Games’. Here, we’ve called it ‘School of Games’ and the children found the puzzles fun to solve (despite one or two teething problems!). We also worked on our own doodles, inspired by Frank, drawing our favourite things, the places we love and the characters we grew up with. It was amazing to see the different creative approaches to this activity; some wonderful ICT skills were also demonstrated.

  • Week 1: The Space We’re In

    The Year 6 team started reading their next book, ‘The Space We’re In’. The session acted as an introduction to Autism and allowed the children to discuss what they already knew about it. As someone on the Autistic Spectrum myself, having Asperger’s Syndrome, I shared some of my experiences and talked about what it was like for me in my school years. It gave the children a unique opportunity to learn about the Spectrum from a personal perspective.

  • Week 4: The Skylark’s War

    As the Year 6 team continued to read this book, they also explored war poems written by those who fought during the First World War. This week, they continued to write as Clarry and Rupert, writing about their experiences and feelings during this hard time. One of the children submitted an amazing poem, which bought a tear to my eye. It’s powerful as well as emotional.

  • ‘In the Key of Code’ – Week 4

    Our AI drawings were all pretty similar, despite us not discussing what we thought AI was beforehand. We all thought of it as computers or robots that are watching us and gathering information. We then had a vibrant discussion about social media algorithms and their pros/cons. The last part of our session was spent debating whether robots make good companions (especially for older people). The consensus was that they were a good thing, but that they would need to be upgraded regularly to make them more invulnerable to hacking. This was because we didn’t want them to end up as a negative influence on people’s lives. We also suggested that it would be great if the robots could detect changes in elderly peoples’ heart rates etc, as they could get medical help early and possibly save their lives. Now we have finished ‘In the Key of Code’, we cannot wait to start our new book after half term!


    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 24th May 2021, 11:20pm
    I think many would benefit from a discussion about social media algorithms, their pros and cons! It sounds like you had some very rich booktalk and how wonderful to be approaching the next book with such enthusiasm already.
  • ‘In the Key of Code’ – Week 3

    Today, we decided to write fairy tales for Emmy’s Mum and Dad. We are all really proud of them, as we collaborated to plan and produce some great stories using the character fairy tales in the book as inspiration. Once we had written them, we shared our stories with the other group. We are so close to the end of the book now and can’t wait to complete it next week!


    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 18th May 2021, 1:29pm
    It has been a joy following you through this story. Your responses have been superb. We love your collaborative fairy tales. Thank you for sharing them with us.
  • ‘In the Key of Code’ – Week 2

    Good news – Emmy’s emotions graph is looking MUCH better now we have progressed further with the book. We had a great discussion about gender roles today and the origins of people’s ideas about gender stereotyping. We also addressed our questions and ideas about the book so far. Finally, we did some excellent choral reading of Orchestra 1 & 2 and read a few more pages of the book together as well.


    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 11th May 2021, 1:46pm
    Very pleased to see this! - and also that your Gladiators have noted Emmy's emotional journey still has twists and turns.
  • Week 3: The Skylark’s War

    Throughout the week, the children stepped into the footsteps of Rupert and Clarry, writing letters and poems. Inspired by Michael Morpurgo’s ‘The Best Christmas Present In The World’, the children wrote letters as Clarry, writing a response to Rupert’s letter about the Christmas Day Truce. They also wrote war poems as Rupert, being inspired by the powerful poetry written by the soldiers themselves about the War. The writing that I have read so far has been emotional and breath taking. It’s incredible!


    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 11th May 2021, 1:48pm
    It sounds like your group has developed a strong emotional connection to the subject matter through the Reading Gladiators title and also the wider reading too. Wonderful work.
  • Week 2: The Skylark’s War

    The Year 6 Reading Gladiators continued to enjoy ‘The Skylark’s War’ during the Easter holidays. In the lead up to the Spring Break, some of the children shared with me their Cornish recounts from the previous challenge. I was blown away by their writing; the awesome choice of words and the incredible, vivid descriptions. I hope these children are as proud of their amazing writing skills as I am. Not only are they engaging, enthusiastic readers, they are also wonderful, creative writers 🙂

  • ‘In the Key of Code’ – Week 1

    Our Yr 6 RG were really happy to begin their journey with ‘In the Key of Code’ today. I felt that it was really important for them to experience this book, as they will all be making the huge leap from Primary to Secondary in just a few short months. We talked a lot about the differences between Wisconsin and California, exploring both states in detail. They were all enthralled to find out that the book features computer coding, as they all enjoy coding lessons in school (as well as reading!). Our emotions graph shows how sad Emmy is feeling when she has to move from her home in Wisconsin to California and things just go from bad to worse as she starts to feel more and more like a wrong note in her new school. All the children said they hope that our emotions graph starts to look more positive as the book progresses!


    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 7th May 2021, 11:51am
    Hang in their Gladiators! It isn't a good place to join Emmy's journey is it! I hope you will share another photo of the emotions graph when you have finished this story. The only way is up!
  • Week 1: The Skylark’s War

    The Year 6 team had already read the first three chapters of their second book. Some had read more than this, which was ideal for our discussion about the main character of the book, Clarry. We thought of some adjectives to describe her and the reasons behind our choices, using evidence from the book itself. The second half of the session focused on Cornwall, the much loved location of Clarry and Peter’s summer holidays. The Year 6s looked at my own photo book about Cornwall from my own holidays and using the photographs, we came up with a list of descriptions of Cornwall, using a tree map of the five senses to guide us. This helped the children with their weekly challenge, which involved them writing recounts about Cornwall. The responses so far have been brilliant, with inspirational use of vocabulary and vivid descriptions. Their recounts have been a joy to read 🙂


    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 7th May 2021, 11:48am
    Lovely to hear about your personal experience of the setting for the beginning of this story and how you have incorporated it into your Reading Gladiators sessions. You clearly inspired your group.
  • Week 5: In the Key of Code

    Some of the children continued to gather images about computing, which were later used to create a digital poster for the mini challenge. Meanwhile, the other Reading Gladiators looked at different extracts from the book and made annotations around them highlighting the different code symbols and what they were used for. For this activity, the children used a glossary for computing science that could be found at the back of the book itself. The team worked brilliantly together. One of the highlights from the session was talking to one of the children who is studying computing science herself. Her knowledge and understanding in the field is incredible. Another highlight of the week was receiving a tweet from the author herself, Aimee Lucido, who was happy that her book had been featured as part of Reading Gladiators 🙂

  • Week 4: In the Key of Code

    The Year 6 team worked hard to create their own fairy tales about Emmy, taking inspiration from the ‘fairy tale’ chapters within the book. The children also started to gather various images and quotes in relation to computing in preparation for the mini challenge set by the RG team.

  • Week 3: In the Key of Code

    This update highlights the brilliant virtual discussion that the team had before they returned to Knockhall. In the lead up to our first session within the school itself, the children had a go at writing coded stories about the lock down.

  • Week 2: In the Key of Code

    In the lead up to their virtual session (hosted during the third lock down), the Year 6 team thought about the references to music made in the book. In particular, they focused on the classical piece of music, ‘Flight of the Bumblebee’ by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. Inspired by this music as well as how the chapters were uniquely written, the children created their own coded stories. Their creativity in this task was stunning 🙂


    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 7th May 2021, 11:36am
    Such a superb piece of music and well done Gladiators - writing a coded story is a challenge - that you have risen to brilliantly.
  • Week 1: In the Key of Code

    Before being given their first book of the programme, the Year 6 Reading Gladiators wrote their first impressions about it, using only the front cover. Then, as well as reading the beginning part of the story, they chose either Wisconsin or California to write about and used their findings to create fact files about them.


    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 7th May 2021, 10:56am
    Taking your time to start a book pays dividends. A considered approach to a well designed book jacket can really help to connect reader to story. I hope it has paid off for your Gladiators.
  • Book Cover Design

    I challenged our Year 6 RG to create a book cover for one of their favourite books. I really like the contrast between the black and yellow pencil on this one and the artwork is great!

  • Home Learning

    I have been setting weekly challenges for our Year 6 RG to complete using books they have at home. This week’s task was to redesign a front cover for one of their favourite books. I was really impressed with this RG, as she has decided to not only redesign the front cover, but also re-write the story in her own way! I thought the description of the potato-like monster here was really creative. The inspiration for the story was ‘Eyeball Soup’ by Ian MacDonald.


    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 4th May 2020, 11:13am
    Brilliant! and what a self motivated gladiator you have there. Fantastic to see evidence of reading related activties of the child's own volition and thank you for encouring your group to keep up with Reading Gladiators during Lockdown.
  • Reading, Reading, Reading!

    To keep us going in these uncertain times the IVJS Reading Gladiators have been stocking up on previous Reading Gladiator books.


    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 27th Mar 2020, 2:34pm
    What a brilliant idea! Some super titles in their selections and a great way to escape from the everyday. Enjoy!
  • Iliad Challenge

    Rosetta’s Year 6 Reading Gladiators have had great fun preparing for their mini challenge and illustrating a passage from the Iliad. They worked extremely well as a team to produce this phenomenal piece of art.

  • Iliad Challenge

    Rosetta’s Year 6 Reading Gladiators have had great fun preparing for their mini challenge and illustrating a passage from the Iliad. They worked extremely well as a team to produce this phenomenal piece of art.


    Sam Keeley
    Sam Keeley 20th Mar 2020, 2:49pm
    Wow - what an amazing piece of art. It's put a smile on all our faces.
  • World Book Day at IVJS

    Dressing up as our favourite characters, hot chocolate, cookies and a good book:
    our Reading Gladiator Club was fantastic!


    Sam Keeley
    Sam Keeley 8th Mar 2020, 10:36am
    You all look fantastic and what better way to spend World Book Day than with a great book!