At JYS we use a ‘book band’ system to grade our reading books within our reading scheme. This enables us to group books from many different publishers according to their reading level. Whilst the books within each band offer a similar level of reading challenge, they will also vary in a number of ways - including genre, layout, size, vocabulary and length - in order to give the children a rich diet of literature at their appropriate level. The difference between each colour band is gradual, so that children do not experience great difficulty moving up through the scheme.
Progress through the bands will happen at different rates for different children and it is important to ensure that children working in the early bands have a really secure understanding of a variety of texts (including poetry and non-fiction books as well as narrative stories) before they move up, so that they remain well-motivated as they encounter more challenging texts. This is particularly important for children at the early stages of learning English as an additional language.
Children should be able to read at least 90% of the words on the page without any problem. If the text is too difficult, they can become frustrated and may have to concentrate so hard on reading the words that they lose the enjoyment and understanding of the story.
Remember . . .
Children learn at different rates, just as they learn to walk and dress themselves 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 so enjoy every step of the reading journey with your child!
Ways you can support your child’s reading
- Try to hear your child read every day – ‘a little and often’ is more beneficial than one 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.