What are Reading Schemes and Why do They Matter?

What are Reading Schemes and Why do They Matter?

What are Reading Schemes?

A reading scheme is a series of books that have been carefully written to support the process of learning to read and to help children make progress as readers. What educational researchers know about how children learn to read – and how best to motivate them to learn – is changing and improving all the time. The best reading schemes reflect this research and help teachers to deliver the best teaching to improve outcomes for children.

What do the different colours, bands and levels mean?

There are a number of different ‘levelling’ systems used including Oxford Levels, Cliff Moon levels, Reading Recovery Levels and Read, Write, Inc. However, the most commonly used structure in schools is Book Bands because this is a system that has been applied to lots of different reading schemes and other books. Book Bands consists of a series of coloured bands that reflect progress in reading from early phonics through to fluent, competent reading around the age of 7 or 8. There are also Bands beyond this but these are much broader and more about age-appropriateness than reading ability.

Chart: Book Bands and Oxford Reading Levels
Age 4-5Age 5-6Age 6-7
Year: ReceptionYear: 1Year: 2
Band: Lilac / Level: 1Band: Blue / Level: 4Turquoise / Level: 7
Band: Pink / Level: 1+Band: Green / Level: 5Band: Purple / Level: 8
Band: Red / Level: 2Band: Orange / Level: 6Band: Gold / Level: 9
Band: Yellow / Level: 3Band: White / Level: 10
Band: Lime / Level: 11

Download the full Oxford Levels Chart.

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