First World War Literacy Resources

Wings-Flyboy-03This is great opportunity to encourage reading and build on the national interest since the First World War centenary.

‘Over the Line’ has been a massive success this term.  Many of my reluctant readers have turned a corner so thank you very much!” Bradley Stoke Community School

Reading  my First World War stories Over the Line , Wings: Flyboy and Armistice Runner and using these FREE resources can help develop children’s understanding and encourage reading for pleasure.


Remembrance Day 2023

More information here


1 First Chapters

2 Posters – click on the images below:

over the line jack poster mini imageover the line poster mini image

Wings take to the skies  Wings take to the skies 2   Flyboy


2.1 The Armistice Runner Challenge – a running and memory activity for schools Guidelines & certificate


2.2 Literacy & Dementia 

2.3 Literacy & Sport

2.4 Literacy & History

2.5 Cover Prediction Worksheets including:

  • Who, where, what, when, why etc ?
  • Predictions and why
  • Download here


2.6 The Fells : Vocabulary Picture by Kim Gibbins and worksheet

Download here


2.7 Colouring  

Draw a landscape to colour in for the Armistice Runner characters here: Lily (running today) and Ernest (a trench runner in the First World War) here.


You could also use these to create character profiles …




Extra resources produced and kindly shared by Mrs Forrest, Framwellgate School, Durham: 

Student Glossary

Download here



Student workbook 

Download here



2.8 Armistice Runner Article

Please feel free to use these images for mapping your pupils ideas about the story, see this example

2.9 “Blackout poems”. see examples from pupils at Greenbank School





2.10 Ten national and local opportunities that schools in the UK can take to mark the Armistice centenary this November. 

“Armistice Runner is a wonderful story to use in the classroom to explore the history of World War 1. The narrative is compelling and perfectly pitched to bring the big themes of war to young readers without being either too frightening or too reductive. By linking the historical aspect of the story to a modern day character in a familiar setting and emphasising the relatable, human aspects of one soldier’s experiences, Tom has skilfully crafted a way for young readers to connect with an event that could too easily seem a world away from them.”  BOOK FOR TOPICS

2.11 Armistice Runner facts …

The First World War and the Armistice here 




The inspiration for Armistice Runner here





2.12 Armistice Runner Themes

The story is based very loosely on our family’s love of cross country and fell running and the champion fell runner of 100 years ago, Ernest Dalzell:

Ernest Dalzell







Credit with thanks to @grasmereschool

While researching Over the Line I became fascinated with the Armistice and how hundreds of thousands of men could collectively stop fighting at eleven a.m. after all they had been through.  I read that there was no time to lay down communication wires, the allies had been advancing so quickly on the Germans.  Runners were used to pass the news on.  


More First World War Literacy Resources to accompany Over the Line , Wings: Flyboy and Armistice Runner (Posters, videos, playscripts and quizzes) downloadable from here.

2.13 Armistice Runner Videos

3 Over the Line

3.1 Videos

Video 1 : Introduction

Take the quiz on video 1 here.

Video 2 : watch me read from Over the Line chapter 1

Video 3 : The Channel

Take the quiz on video 3 here.

Video 4: Inside a Trench

Take the quiz on video 4 here.

Video 5 : Delville Wood

Take the quiz on video 5 here.

Video 6 : Sid Wheelhouse’s Grave

Take the quiz on video 6 here.

Video 7 : The Flanders Cup

Take the quiz on video 7 here

3.2 Over the Line Resources

Year 7 Reading Response Scheme of Work very kindly shared by Sirius Academy  here

over the line picTry the first chapter of Over the line here.





RCall of Dutyead my short story Call of Duty about a modern footballer going to war here.




OTL 20 questionsTest your knowledge of Over the Line with the 20 questions quiz here.






Act a scene from Over the Line with playscripts here.



Chat about Over the Line with the classroom discussion guide here. classroom discussion guide




OTL certificateAward a signed certificate for classwork from Tom here.




3.3 Over the Line Blogs

Read my blogs about writing and researching Over the Line

“The narrative in this short novel is powerful and evocative. The emphasis on football will entice readers who might not think at first that historical fiction is “their thing”. The compelling voice of Jack will undoubtedly prove them otherwise.”

Euroe 2016 and the Battle of the Somme3.4 Over the Line 2016

I have written a sixteen chapter story for the National Literacy Trust to tie in with this June’s centenary of the Battle of the Somme.  It was set during the Euro 2016 football tournament and the main characters were school pupils on a battlefield tour and First World War soldiers.

  • Chapters 1-15 are now available from here.
  • A literacy toolkit of ideas to use in schools based around the Euro 2016 tournament and the centenary commemorations is available now from here.
  • otl certificateDownload your signed certificate to present to your school /class/ individual pupils in thanks for following Over the Line 2016 here.

“Just read the first chapter of your story with two Year 9 boys, it has captured their imagination and they can’t wait until the next installment!” North Durham Academy 

3.5 Over the Line Extras

sid wheelhouse cardThis is the cigarette card of Sid Wheelhouse.

The photos below are of the Footb
aller’s Batallion Memorial, the cemetry near Couin and Delville wood today.

There are lots of photos of Delville Wood in 1916 here.


DSCF0394DSCF0408  DSCF0370The Lochnagar Crater is the largest example and it has been preserved, for photos see here.

For information on the Thiepval memorial, see here.

A short film from Imperial War Museum on the Somme 100 Years On here.

A spoken word poem by Molly Case for the Royal British Legion, see here. 

Leeds School Library Service have produced a comprehensive guide to First World War books here.

The remarkable stories of 175 men from 11 countries who were awarded the Victoria Cross during the First World War are brought together here 

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has created Glory Days – an interactive resource through video and audio clips, animation, primary sources and lesson activities – to tell some of the footballer’s stories and looks at how they are remembered by recording their details and looking after their graves and memorials, see here for more.

World War 1 School Archives are creating a centralised archive for schools to display and share their memories of the Great War.

The British Council have produced  The Football Remembers education pack for teachers in English & Welsh, designed to offer support and resources for pupils learning about the Truce events that took place in 1914, see here for more.

With the BBC and Imperial War Museum you can research First World War stories by postcode  using WW1 at home.

BBC have collected some of their sport in wartime footage here.

1914 Footage of the Footballers’ Battalion

ITV have footage here of Leyton Orient playing Leicester City in the final game of the 1914/15 season – at the end of the match the London side changed into their khaki uniforms and marched with the 17th Middlesex Regiment. They were part of the Footballers’ Battalion who fought and died in the First World War.


4 Flyboy resources

4.1 Guided Reading pack

This pack is full of different literacy ideas for the classroom, library or at home.

Something to help literacy take off for every child.

Download your pack here



4.2 Flyboy video


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