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What are Book Bands?

We have been working hard to develop our school and home reading systems, to support your child’s reading journey – and in particular after they have secured their early reading and phonic skills in the Early Years and Key Stage 1 with our Little Wandle scheme and move onwards then into Key Stage 2.

As the children secure the phonics knowledge, fluency and early reading skills they need, they are then going to continue to develop their reading knowledge within a Book Band system. This system helps us to grade our books by difficulty level. Each level has its own colour and will include a selection of different reading scheme books and ‘real’ books. The difference between each band is gradual so that children will not experience difficulty when moving from one to the next. At the Rawcliffe Federation, we are currently building our stock of colour banded books.

This year we have invested in the Collins Big Cat E-Library so that all pupils have the maximum access to the biggest range of colour banded books possible straight away. When they are using these books, your child will then be given a log in to this online e-library so that they can access these books at home too.  Your child will also be able to take home a further book of their choice, from the school or class library each week. 

Many reading scheme publishers follow the same colour banded progression. Collins Big Cat further breaks down the colour bands in Key Stage 2 to include finer levels of difficulty and challenge. The detailed guidance for each colour band below shows where this happens.

Children are all individual in their reading journey, who learn and make progress at different rates. As well as periods of rapid progress, your child will probably have periods of consolidation when progress through the colour bands is steadier and slows down. There is absolutely no need to be concerned about this - this is the time when they have the chance develop confidence in using and applying their newly acquired reading skills.

It is really important that children develop their comprehension skills alongside their ability to read the words on the page so you may find that your child is able to read the words fluently but continues to also work on a familiar Book Band colour for a while to enable them to focus on developing their understanding.

Class teachers assess the children’s reading on a regular basis and will change their Book Band colour only when they are confident that both the comprehension and word reading targets have been fully met. It is very common that as children become more fluent readers, their comprehension levels develop more steadily and need to consolidate and build these with books that are more straightforward to ‘read’.

Please encourage your child to continue to read books they can read with ease and confidence – reading with this level of competence is very rewarding and supports your children to be pleasurable and not always a challenge to get through.

Please discourage your child from seeing the Book Bands as a race through the colours but help them to understand that each band will offer a range of books which will help them in developing different reading skills.

Thank you for reading with your child at home. It really is an essential part of their development, and you play a vital role in nurturing their love of reading.

    Below is some further information and documentation that will help you to support your child's reading journey and how you can          help this at home.