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"We’ve been really happy with Reading Chest books for my daughter. We started during lockdown and then continued because it was so helpful getting a supply of new books at regular intervals for my daughter to read. She became a free reader (and loves reading) and we didn’t need Reading Chest books anymore. We are now looking forward to starting Reading Chest again for my son. The admin side of it is really simple and Liz is very responsive to emails for any queries. I would highly recommend Reading Chest. Anna Doe. Read more Tell us what you think

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Settling into a New School Year...

 How are your little ones settling into their new school year? Lots of our members have been in touch ...

Our reading schemes

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


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Below you will find a list of questions that will hopefully answer any problems or queries you may have. Simply click on the question you're interested in to reveal or hide the answer.

If you cannot find the answer to your question, please contact us and a member of the Reading Chest team will get back to you as soon as possible.

Reading guidance FAQs

Who is Reading Chest for?

Reading Chest is designed for children who are learning to read, usually between the ages of 4 and 9. We provide easy access for parents to a wide range of carefully levelled reading books which are used in schools across the UK. It is perfect for both speedy readers who race through their school books and reluctant readers who might need inspiring. Reading Chest is also an invaluable service for home school educators who do not have access to any school book lending system.

I’m not sure what book band (reading level) my child is on. What can I do?

If your teacher cannot help you with this and it is not clear from your child’s school reading books, then look at our sample pages to see the level of difficulty at each book band level. For more help, have a look at our advice pages www.readingchest.co.uk/book-bands. Don’t worry too much because once you sign up and start receiving books, it is easy to change your book selection and reading level.

My child is not at school yet and can’t read at all. Should he learn to read before he starts school?

Some children are ready to learn to read before starting school and some are not.  Because there is such a huge range of ability in the first few years of school and pre-school, partly due to the age difference between the oldest and the youngest in a class, as well as a myriad of other reasons, there is no consensus as to what is best to do. Reading Chest is not aimed at pre-school children but it may be appropriate for you and your child.

My child is really struggling and hates reading. I want to do more, but is there any point subscribing to Reading Chest?

Reading Chest could be the opportunity to turn your child around. Even if your child doesnt enjoy reading, they need to learn to read at some point. Reading Chest will make the journey of learning to read as enjoyable as possible by providing good quality, fabulous books at the perfect reading level. There are also extra incentives such as stickers and reward certificates. We want to support you and your child on this journey. Check out our reading advice for more ideas www.readingchest.co.uk/book-bands.

How far do Reading Chest books go?

Reading Chest offers expertly levelled books up to a reading age of about 9. The reading levels cover all the nationally recognised book band colours from pink to lime with an additional band of books at the top level, which Reading Chest calls ‘extended readers’. In the book banding colour system, children are expected to reach lime reading level at around 7 years old. Don’t get too worried about these age guidelines, as it is quite common for a 6 year old to have a reading age of 9 and for a 9 year old to have a reading age of 6. They will all level out in the end!

How will I know if my child should move up a book band (reading level)?

This decision could be made after talking to your child’s teacher. If your child moves up a reading level at school, this is a good indicator. However, it might be that your school uses a different levelling system. It is important for your child to read the right level of reading book: if books are too easy, children will not be challenged and not make as much progress; if books are too difficult, children will lose understanding of the story and not gain as much pleasure from reading. Children should be getting no more than 1 in 10 words wrong on average. If you change book band levels and think it is the wrong decision, don’t worry as you can easily switch back again.

I know what Oxford Reading Tree level my child is on but don’t know how this compares to book bands.

Oxford Reading Tree books have the book band colour shown on the spine. Oxford Reading Tree levels follow the book band colours. 

(There were a few exceptions in some older publications of Biff, Chip and Kipper stories, where some books within the same Oxford Reading Tree level had different book bands.  Later reprints of the books have made the book bands within the series consistent with book bands.  The books themselves have not changed.)

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

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


General guidance FAQs

What happens if I lose or damage a book?

Whilst we hope that everyone takes good care of our books, accidents do happen. Please let Reading Chest know by either sending an email to info@readingchest.co.uk or call on 01252 705100. We may have to charge you £4 to cover the replacement of the book.

What happens if the books get lost in the post?

Your books should usually arrive the day after being sent. If your books have still not arrived 3 working days later, please let Reading Chest know by either sending an email to info@ReadingChest.co.uk or calling us on 01252 705100. Reading Chest will take responsibility for books which are lost in the post and issue some more.

How many books can I post at a time?

You can post up to 3 books at a time in an envelope. This is called a swap. If you only return 1 or 2 books at a time, you won’t be making the most of your allocated number of swaps allowed in a month. (Bronze package – 2 swaps, Silver package – 4 swaps, Gold package – unlimited.) If you post more than 3 books, then Reading Chest would have to send your new books back to you in 2 envelopes and so this would count as 2 swaps instead of 1.

Can I choose the books I want?


When you initially sign up to Reading Chest, you will only be asked to select your child's book band (reading level).  If you are happy to receive a selection of books from their book band, there is nothing more to do. 

If you want to be more specific about the books you want, you can do this in your Reading Chest account area. 

1.You can add titles to your 'Favourites' list which we will prioritise for you. 

2. You can add titles to your 'Book bin' which we won't send to you. 

3. You can select particular reading schemes, or just fiction or non-fiction.

Books can be added to your 'Favourites' that are not in your book band - which might be useful for a school topic.

How can I make sure that my child doesn’t get the same books that he has read at school?

If you know what reading schemes are used in your school, you can simply exclude these schemes from your book selections.

If there are certain titles within a reading scheme your child has read, you can add these to your 'Book bin' which will prevent Reading Chest from sending them.

Can I change my book rental subscription package?

Yes, you can do this any time in ‘My Account’. If you want to upgrade your package, your extra swap allowances and books will be processed straight away.

I have got two children learning to read. What is the best book rental subscription package for me?

You could subscribe to either the silver or gold packages and make multiple book lists so that each child can get books at their own reading level and make their own book choices. Please note that both children’s names will be on the envelope of books arriving in the post (e.g. Alfie & Ella Brown). If you think this is likely to cause a riot in your house, then you could open two separate accounts so that each child has their own list and receives their own personalised post.

Can I join for 2 children on different reading levels?

Yes - if you are a silver or gold member.  (The bronze package only allows one book list to be created.) Your total allocation of books will be shared evenly between your 2 children, so they will each have 3 books at their own reading level.

During the 'sign up' process, you will be asked for the names and book band of each child.  You can then go to your Reading Chest account area to make further preferences and choices about each child's book selection.



I have signed up to the Silver Package and have 2 children reading at different levels. One of my children gets could do with more books than the other. Is this possible?

Yes.  In your initial delivery of books, you will be sent an even split of books betwen your children. So, if you are on Silver Package with 2 children - Emma and Harry - they will both be sent 3 books each to begin with.  It is then up to you who gets the most books.  You can post up to 3 books back at a time, so if you posted 2 of Harry's and 1 of Emma's, then you would be sent 2 new books for Harry and 1 for Emma.

How do I cancel my subscription?

It’s easy! Within the ‘My Account’ section of the website you can cancel your subscription at any time, by clicking 'End membership'. Your cancellation will be effective once all your books have been returned. Please note that you will have to return all your books by your next billing date otherwise we might have to charge you for the next month’s service.