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Always Learning and Achieving Together

Reading support

Reading is taught through a range of strategies in school, early reading is taught mainly through Phonics and children have access to banded books. Helpful tips to help you read with your child at home are also on this page.


Book Banding system

There are eleven book bands and within each band there are a wide variety of different texts for children to choose from. Your child will be given the opportunity to choose a book from their band to read and share with you at home. The books children read will vary in a number of ways, including layout, size, vocabulary and length, to give the children a rich diet of literature.


The difference between each colour band is very gradual, so that children do not experience great difficulty moving through the bands. Within each book band there will be wide range of non-fiction and fiction books and there will be some small differences in the difficulty level of each book. Some books will challenge and extend reading skills, vocabulary and word recognition and some will consolidate. Occasionally your child may choose to read a book again from within a book band, this will be acceptable as reading familiar texts develops fluency and confidence. When your child has achieved all the targets for a particular band their class teacher will move them onto the next colour band. 


Progress through the bands is not automatic and it is important to ensure that children working in the early bands have secure understanding so that they remain in control of the task and well motivated as they move on to more challenging texts. This is particularly important for children at the early stages of learning


Obviously this guidance can only give a rough idea of the right reading level for your child. There will be a wide range of reading abilities in any school year. As a guide, children should be able to read at least 90% of the words on the page without any problem. If it’s too difficult, they can become frustrated, and may have to concentrate so hard on reading the words that they lose the enjoyment of understanding the story. Their home reading should not be a reading lesson where you have to teach them anything new. It should be more about practicing their reading knowledge (thus the reason that the same books are read repeatedly).


A Word of Caution!

  • You will be doing your child no favours if you rush them through books. It is not a race, it is a journey!

  • Children learn at different rates just as they learn to walk, dress themselves etc. at different rates. Reading must not be treated as a competition. If children are rushed through the books they will not achieve the enjoyment and understanding necessary. Books that they find too difficult will soon put them off reading!


Things to Remember

  • Do hear your child read every day.

  • Little and often is more beneficial than a long session once a week.

  • Think about how long you are reading for - the amount of reading time shouldn’t exceed your child’s span of attention.

  • Pick your timing carefully - it’s best not to embark on a reading session when your child is tired.

  • Every child is an individual - try not to compare your child’s progress with other children or with brothers and sisters.

  • “Parents can instill a love of reading long before a child goes to school and deepen that love of reading as the child grows up.”

  • Enjoy reading with your child and help them become lifelong readers.