Book bands & advice

What are book bands? Tips on choosing books Helping children learn to read Synthetic phonics

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Our reading schemes

Books available to rent from the reading schemes below...

What are book bands?

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.

Browse our sample pages below:

Further information:

Oxford Reading Tree Levels and Book Bands

Oxford Reading Tree books have the book band colour shown on the spine. Oxford Reading Tree levels follow the book band colours, however over the last few years, there were a few ...

Oxford Reading Tree books have the book band colour shown on the spine. Oxford Reading Tree levels follow the book band colours, however over the last few years, there were a few exceptions to this in the Biff, Chip and Kipper Stories. i.e. Some books within the same Oxford Reading Tree level had different book bands.

Please note - the publisher has recently updated the book bands in the Biff, Chip and Kipper Stories to give consistency across their schemes, resulting in the latest reprints changing their bands so that all of the books within the same Oxford Reading Tree level now have the same book band.

(The books themselves have not changed!)

Oxford Reading Tree stages correspond to the following book band colours:

Pink Book Band ORT Level 1+
Red Book Band ORT Level 2
Yellow Book Band ORT Level 3
Blue Book Band ORT Level 4
Green Book Band ORT Level 5
Orange Book Band ORT Level 6
Turquoise Book Band ORT Level 7
Purple Book Band ORT Level 8
Gold Book Band ORT Level 9
White Book Band ORT Level 10
Lime Book Band ORT Level 11
Extended Book Band ORT Level 12 & 13

Book bands in school

The book band system is designed to help schools grade their reading books...

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.

Reading age & book bands

As you will see from the chart above there are general guidelines about which book bands should be covered at each age group...

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’ at school.

How do I know my child’s book band?

Book bands are usually shown on the back or spine of the book. ...

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.