World Cup 2018 literacy resources

Start a Reading Revolution in your school!  From 14th June -16th July 2018, I am writing a live thriller adventure set at the men’s football World Cup finals in Russia.

  • published 7.30 am each weekday morning
  • FREE ten-minute read chapters for schools (Y4 – Y8) and families to read
  • written each night, influenced by the fixtures on and off the field
  • print it, read out loud, put on whiteboards, share on devices …
  • featuring dramatic cliffhangers, voting to change the storyline
  • “word of the day” extra activity
  • based on my new history series, Defenders more here

DOWNLOADS : Chapters 1-7 are now live.   I am grateful to the National Literacy Trust for hosting the story here.  Simply follow an easy and FREE registration process:

  • click on Join us
  • choose the Free Option
  • start Membership
  • enter Name, Email and Preferences
  • verify by email

Dyslexia friendly version here

VOTING : On 20 June, in Chapter 5 of Defenders: Russia I am offering  three clear options for what happens next, to be discussed in class or at home and then take a vote!   Please cast your vote by using the contact form below or by email with your preferred option in the subject line.  Voting will be open from 7am-7pm British Summer Time.  Any votes submitted before or after the voting is open will not be counted.  One vote per group, please!

Any additional email addresses submitted for voting purposes will not be used for future marketing purposes or shared with any third party, without consent.  (With new GDPR rules coming in, we ask you to check our privacy policy and terms and conditions )

“The best time I remember from my primary school was when our teacher read the Foul Play World Cup Mystery out to us. I’ll never forget us all listening together every morning and worrying about what would happen if England won!” Kylie

Use this Live World Cup Read poster in your school or library.  Add when and where you wil be reading it!

FAQ  :  If you have any difficulties please email and we will try to help.

If you break up before the story finishes please consider asking pupils to follow from home with their families.

My Other World Cup Resources:

  • SPAG worksheet here with powerpoint here
    based on  Dead Ball – my Russian children’s thriller – and linking to the 2018 men’s football World Cup
  • Video – researching and writing Dead Ball in Moscow here
  • Book Covers for making bunting etc. here 
  • Football Readers pack – posters about real readers and template to make your own here 
  • World Cup display ideas here
  • Secret FC colouring here
  • Football Academy colouring here

  • Gus the Famous Football world cup predicting Cat colouring  download here 


  • World Cup schools toolkit here
  • World Cup Football Writing Exercises here
  • Letter to send home to encourage reading here 
  • Euro 2016/Somme toolkit here 


  • Mae Cwpan y Byd yn dod yn nes, felly dyma linc i siart wal y gallwch chi ei lawrlwytho ac argraffu adre! Welsh World Cup wallchart here

Coming Soon

  • At the end, there will be a certificate signed by Tom for you to present to your pupils.

Thank you!

I’ve been using the World Cup to help promote literacy  since 2006 (see here ) with spin offs like the Rugby World Cup, Euros, and last year’s Anne Frank Diary for the Women’s Football European Championships.  Thanks to all the pupils and teachers for your amazing support!

Our previous Live Read activities were downloaded nearly 500,000 times and used by tens of thousands of schools… “I have been downloading Tom’s fantastic episodic story from the Literacy Trust website. I just wanted to drop him a line to tell him how brilliantly his story is going down at our school. Every morning I have children, particularly the boys, running up to me to check that I have downloaded and printed out the latest chapter of the story. The feedback from all the teachers is really positive, they tell me that it has really captured the boys imaginations and is encouraging them to read too!”    Lucy Bakewell, SLA School Librarian of the Year

And if you like these you might like …

A NEW World Cup story 

 A funny and heartwarming story about a girl and her pet cat, who becomes a World Cup celebrity! 

There’s a football challenge at Yusra’s school and everyone wants to win. Which class can find the best way to predict England’s World Cup results? Yusra has an idea – her pet cat Gus could help! As Gus keeps guessing the scores right, the word spreads and soon everyone wants a piece of the famous football cat. But is the life of a celebrity as purrfect as it seems? More here 

Gus the Famous Football Cat colouring sheet download here 

More FREE literacy resources here

More about all my other books for children here

Background to the Defenders trilogy

Seth and Nadiya specialise in solving ghostly hauntings at football venues, which take them to settings including:


Each book ties into a KS2 history theme:

Killing Ground (Vikings & Anglo Saxons) 
Dark Arena  (Roman Britain) 
Pitch Invasion  (Iron Age Celts)

More here


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