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St Francis Church of England School

Teaching Reading


In the Foundation Stage we establish a language-rich environment and model and share reading with the children, demonstrating that it is an active part in the process of constructing meaning. We discuss how texts are structured, how to use book language and learn about the rhythm and expression needed for reading aloud. Our aim is to build on and extend children’s understanding of language so that they develop early reading skills and most importantly a love of books and a desire to read for pleasure. 

In the Early Years and Key Stage 1 children take part in group guided reading sessions. As children progress into Key Stage 2, they take part in whole class guided reading lessons. We differentiate reading lessons according to the needs of our learners and select texts in line with the children’s current reading colour band and link the texts to our current class topics where possible.

As well as introducing them to a range of authors and genres in English and guided reading lessons, we encourage children to extend their reading by choosing from a wide range of authors and genres from our well stocked library. To promote this, we have our Year 5 and 6 Librarians who support other readers in selecting books.

We strive to involve parents and carers in their child's English education. As well has helping children to develop essential reading skills by reading to someone at home every day, we also encourage adults to read to their children to help them develop high level comprehension skills as well as giving them ideas for their writing.

At St Francis C.E Primary the children progress through a reading scheme linked to colours, where they move through bands from lilac to maroon. Once children have reached and completed books in the brown band however, they become 'free readers', where they are guided by their teacher to choose books that are appropriately challenging.  Letters explaining Book Banding and how to support children on each band can be found at the bottom of this page.

Please follow this link for tips on reading with your children at home.  If you scroll to the bottom of the page you will see some guides to reading with your child.  If English is not your first language then please do not worry, this fantastic resource can be downloaded in a number of different languages.

Reading Tips & Advice

Key Stage one

In Key Stage 1, reading is taught through a wide range of reading activities which are used to develop children’s reading vocabulary and confidence.  Through discussion and rich questioning, using quality fiction and non-fiction, children are taught the skills needed to interpret and understand a range of texts.  These comprehension skills enable children to become purposeful, active readers and develop a lifetime love of books and reading. The teaching of reading will mostly be taught using a carousel of activities linked to various reading skills. 

Key Stage two

ReadingIn Key Stage 2, reading is primarily taught through whole class teaching, with work differentiated to meet the needs of all. Each classroom has its own library where children can choose to read a wide range of quality stories, plays, poetry and information books. We aim to make sure that all children can read competently, enjoy and appreciate books.

Reading interventions are planned by class teachers. Children will be heard reading by an adult in school on a regular basis to continue to support decoding skills and other comprehension skills.

Book bands

Reading books are graded by difficulty by reading levels known as Book Bands. Each Book Band has its own colour. The chart below gives an indication of the range of Book Band levels at which most children will be reading as they progress through primary school.

The chart shows the progress of an ‘average’ band of children- but no individual child is ‘average’, so no child makes smooth progress precisely in this way. Children tend to learn in fits and starts – periods of growth followed by periods of consolidation when their progress seems to halt for a while. The periods where you don’t see rapid progress may be worrying, especially after a ‘growth spurt’, but they are important as your child develops confidence in using and applying their newly acquired skills.

If you are ever worried about your child’s progress, talk to their teacher.

As a rough guide, children should be able to read at least 90% of the words on the page without any problem. If the book is too easy, they can become bored. 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.

Please find information on how to support your child's reading in the letters below. Each book band has different top tips and advice on how to support your child.

Lilac Book Band LetterPink Book Band Letter

Red Book Band Letter

Yellow Book Band Letter

Blue Book Band Letter

Green Book Band Letter

Orange Book Band Letter

Turquoise Book Band Letter

Purple Book Band Letter

Gold Book Band Letter

White Book Band LetterLime Book Band Letter

Brown Book Band Letter

Grey Book Band Letter

Dark Blue Book Band Letter

Maroon Book Band Letter