Book bands & advice

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

Tips on choosing books

Find out your child’s reading level.

Home school reading books are carefully graded by reading levels called book bands. You can find which book band your child is reading at by looking for a coloured sticker or printed coloured tag on the spine or back of the book. Once you know this, you will be able to select books from different authors and reading schemes, which should all be at the same reading level. If you’re not sure, your child’s teacher should be able to help. Otherwise, look at some sample pages either by clicking on a book in ‘Our books,’ or at ‘Step 2’ of the sign-up process.


Know the colour: now choose your books.

To keep things simple, when you first sign up to Reading Chest, you only need to select your child’s book band. There are then two ways to proceed:

A: If you would like to receive a varied selection of books from your chosen book band, there is nothing more to do – just wait for your books to arrive in the post.

OR

B: After completing the sign-up process, you can log into your account and make some more choices about your books:

  • Choose to include or exclude particular reading schemes. (A reading scheme is a range of carefully levelled reading books from the same publisher, e.g. Collins Big Cat, Oxford Reading Tree). You may wish to avoid the reading scheme your child reads at school to ensure a wider breadth of books.
  • Choose either fiction or just non-fiction books, which sometimes appeal more to boys.

Most parents leave their options open and receive a varied selection from all the schemes offered by Reading Chest.


Creating a favourites list

It is not necessary to create a favourites list, as you will automatically be sent a selection of books based on your book band and preferences. However, if your child has any favourite titles that he/she would like us to prioritise, you can add these to your favourites list. This feature is particularly useful if your child is studying a certain topic at school and would like to receive books on e.g. climate change. You will be able to search for relevant books from any book band using our search tool.


Creating a book bin

You can add books to your book bin that you do not want to receive. These may be books that you have already read from school, or just books that you don’t fancy. (You can change your mind at any time and remove books from your book bin.)


Phonics books?

Phonics reading schemes (otherwise known as decodable books) are written with words that include specific phonemes (sounds). The idea is that children should read a book only containing phonemes that they have already learnt, so they can decode each word they come across rather than guessing or seeking help. (Our phonics schemes include: Floppy’s Phonics, Phonics Bug, Collins Big Cat Phonics, Yellow Door Rag Tag Rhymes).

Children are encouraged to read all reading schemes using their phonics knowledge, however some other schemes will include ‘tricky’ words as well as those that are decodable, which children may need help with. For more information on phonics, go to our Synthetic phonics page.


What if I change my mind?

Don’t worry - you can change your preferences at any time. If the books are too easy or too challenging you can also change your reading level (book band).


Reading Chest supports you.

If you need more advice about helping your child read check out our Helping children learn to read page.


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