Learning to read is an essential life skill and one that can give great pleasure.
Instilling a love of reading is vital to a child’s future success and, not only that, we are passing down something that is incredibly fun and rewarding.
All the research shows that kids need to be read with (and read to) regularly – ideally every day – for them to become confident readers who are happy to absorb themselves in a book. Reading books that are well suited to your child's ability is really important in growing their confidence. So how do you find a book that matches your child's reading age?
Reading books used in schools are graded by level – also known as book bands, or for Oxford Reading Tree, stages. Your child's reading level should be assigned at school but you can also try this simple test at home.
To help, we have selected books from across some of the most popular schemes for each level, as well as books for reading aloud or together to develop that love of reading.
There are lots of great reading programmes: Oxford Reading Tree, Collins Big Cat,and more which means there is plenty to choose from. The good news is that the book band levels are largely the same across all the publishers so whether you are looking at Bug Club books or the Oxford reading tree levels, the book bands and age-related expectations remain the same.
See below for an explanation of each level and the book band colours, but please do remember that the ages below are just guidelines – no child is alike. Some will teach themselves to read before they are even at school, others may need longer for phonics to “click” and may be 7 or 8 before they move up from red books.
Once children reach lime level (sometimes referred to as level 11 or 12) they can read well and the reading level colours are no longer so important. At this point I would personally recommend letting them read anything and everything they want, this may be fiction, non-fiction or comics – no more Biff, Chip and Kipper required!
Every child’s reading journey is different but passing on a love of reading to your child is one of the greatest gifts you can give them.