Reading Chest has a vast selection of reading books, which are used in schools
across the UK. These are carefully graded by reading levels known as book bands.
This means that when you know your child’s book band, you will be able to select
books from different reading schemes with confidence, knowing that they are the
right level for your child.
Each book band has its own colour. These are shown below together with some sample
pages to show the levels of difficulty at each band.
For children just starting to read. Children are getting used to reading from left to right and matching spoken words to written words. Usually no more than 10 pages with up to 5 words on a page.
The second step up the ladder as children gain a little more confidence and may know some words by sight. Usually no more than 15 pages with 1 sentence per page.
Children are beginning to read more varied sentence structures and taking some note of punctuation. Usually no more than 15 pages with 1 or 2 sentences per page.
Children are becoming more confident at reading longer and more varied sentences. Usually no more than 15 pages with 2 or 3 sentences per page.
Children are starting to read quite fluently and take note of punctuation. Usually about 20 pages with 3 or 4 sentences per page.
Children are starting to read longer and more complex sentences and can understand a range of punctuation. Usually about 20 pages with 4 or 5 sentences per page.
Children can read complex sentences fairly fluently, taking note of punctuation. They use expression and do not rely on illustrations to help them. Usually about 20 pages with 4 or 5 sentences per page.
Children might read silently or quietly at quite a rapid pace, taking note of punctuation. Usually about 25 pages with 5 to 10 sentences per page.
Books might have chapters. Children will read silently most of the time. They are interested in longer texts which they can return to easily after a break. Usually no more than 30 pages and about 10 sentences per page.
Books might have chapters. Children will read silently most of the time. They are interested in longer texts which they can return to easily after a break. Usually more than 30 pages.
Books might have chapters. Children read silently with confidence and perseverance. A wide variety of longer, demanding texts, usually with around 30 - 50 pages.
The book band system is designed to help schools grade their reading books. Most
reading scheme books for children aged 4 to 8 years have been given a book band
colour by the publisher based on the level of reading difficulty. These colours
(also used by Reading Chest) usually correspond to those in your child’s school.
Ideally this means that a ‘pink’ book in the Collins Big Cat scheme is at the
same reading level as a ‘pink’ book in the Project X scheme.
As you will see from the chart above there are general guidelines about which
book bands should be covered at each age group. Please remember that children learn
in different ways and make progress at different times. It is possible that there
may be seven year olds on book band red and five year olds on book band turquoise.
As a rough guide, children are expected to reach the highest level (lime) at
seven or eight years old. Children who read above lime level are reading fairly
fluently and although some books are still graded above this level, children are
reading such a wide range of material that the banding becomes not so important.
Reading Chest offers books up to book band lime and also beyond (extended readers)
so that we can cater for those young readers who might be called ‘free readers’
Book bands are usually shown on the back or spine of the book. If you don’t already
know your child’s book band colour, please refer to the chart above. Have a look
at the sample pages, or take advice from your child’s school. It is important that
children read books at the correct level. For more information on this have a look
at our Tips on choosing books page.
Some schools rely heavily on Oxford Reading Tree books and so parents get used
to their levels (Stages). All recently published Oxford Reading Tree books also
have the book band colour shown as a small thumbnail on the back of the cover.
Generally, the Oxford Reading Tree stages correspond to the book band colours,
i.e. Stage 1 is pink, Stage 2 is red, Stage 3 is yellow. However there are a few
exceptions to this. For example, although most of the Stage 3 books are book band
yellow, there are a few which are book band blue. This occurs because some Oxford
Reading Tree books were published before the book banding system was established.
It is also worth noting that most Stage 1+ books are book band red and not pink.
After consultation with the publishers and our customers, Reading Chest has decided
to group all Oxford Reading Tree books from each particular Stage into a single
book band. This has been done by taking the best approximation between each Stage
and the corresponding book band colour – as follows: