World Cup 2018 literacy resources

THANK YOU to the teachers, tutors, librarians, pupils and families who supported Defenders:Russia – a live thriller set at the men’s football World Cup finals in Russia, from 14th June-13 July 2018.

Defenders:Russia Dyslexia friendly BIND UP of  all 1-22 chapters available here.

Defenders:Russia CERTIFICATE for followers here.

Defenders:Russia QUIZ, thanks to the fantastic team @Ellis_Guilford here   (They will not be storing or using the response email address for marketing/communication or any other use).

Defenders:Russia Tom Palmer’s Guide To How Books Are Made WORKSHEET & answers here

  • based on my new history series, Defenders more here
  • FREE ten-minute read chapters for schools (Y4 – Y8) and families
  • 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

DOWNLOADSChapters 1-22 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

“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

If you are one of 1000’s of teachers, librarians, pupils and families all over the world who followed the Defenders:Russsia live story, we’d like to thank you all in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Cayman Islands, Channel Islands, Czech Republic, Eire, England, Ethiopia, Hong Kong, India, Isle of Wight, Isle of Man, Italy, Malawi, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, USA and Wales – you have made this truly World Cup reading revolution!

My Other World Cup Resources:

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

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!

Berkhamsted School’s World Cup bunting

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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