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Year 1 and 2

High Oakham Primary School

Key Stage One - Years 1 and 2

Reading Book Bands &  

Reading for Pleasure



EYFS and Key Stage 1

Book Banded Reading Books



Book Bands are a proven approach to developing successful readers. The Book Band system helps schools to carefully organise and grade their books by their difficulty level, ensuring that each child has a book that they have the skills to read. This system is also one of the many ways that your child’s class teacher will track and monitor their progress in reading and identify their next steps and appropriate reading objectives for them to work on.  

At High Oakham Primary School, our EYFS to Key Stage 1 reading books are banded from Lilac books through to Lime books.

EYFS - Nursery

In Nursery, children will begin with a Lilac, wordless picture book. They will begin to develop a love of books! Lilac Band 0 books, are wordless books that tell a story through pictures and are designed to develop an understanding of how stories work. They support early practise of reading and exploration of familiar themes to further develop curiosity and inspiration for early readers. Images from within each scene are pulled out along the bottom of some pages to focus and promote discussion. These books support Phase 1 of Letters and Sounds. They create opportunities to talk and listen with a grownup.


As children move into F2 and start to take part in daily Phonics sessions, they will move through reading bands Pink, Red, Yellow and Blue. These books are fully decodable and are aligned to the Letters and Sounds Phonics teaching programme which is what we follow at High Oakham. These books allow children to practise the required phonemes through fiction and non-fiction reading books. These high-quality texts also support children to develop a love of reading with engaging books, supported by high-quality illustrations and photographs. They are split into sets according to the phonemes that the children are required to recognise.

Year 1

As the children move through Year 1, they will be given a banded book to read according to their reading ability. The bands are Pink, Red, Yellow, Blue, Green, Orange and Turquoise. These books are linked to phonemes that the children are learning and practising during their daily Phonics teaching and also contain keywords that the children are learning to recognise on sight. Children will be encouraged to take two reading books, a fiction and a nonfiction text to read at home. Many of these books will explain on the first page, the phonemes and keywords that the children will practise when reading and provide activities to complete with parents and carers.

Year 2

When starting in Year 2, the children will be able to read many words on sight and segment and blend unfamiliar words in order to read them. They will continue to take part in daily, 20-minute Phonics sessions which will support the development of their grapheme recognition. The focus now starts to move from ‘learning to read’ to ‘reading to learn’. As the children progress with their reading and start to read more fluently, they will now also access Purple, Gold, White and Lime bands. They will continue to bring home two texts every week and children who progress onto Gold Band books will also have the opportunity to take home a ‘Rainbow Reader Book’ which are longer, chapter books to develop sustained reading.

Reading at Home

Children in F2, Year 1 and Year 2 are expected to read at home for 5 minutes, five times a week. This could be their reading books, Bug Club online books, Reading for Pleasure books or any other suitable reading materials. Research shows that children who read frequently and develop an early love for reading, go on to make greater progress and achieve well in other subject areas! We ask that all parents and carers write in their child’s reading diary to show when their child has read at home. Reading at home is celebrated in many different ways in school. Children might be awarded certificates, awards, stickers and have the opportunity to take part in additional special activities.

Book Band Reading Objectives

In your child’s reading diary, you will find a Target Sheet that is linked to the colour book band that they are on. On this sheet you will find information about the book band and how you can support and further develop your child’s reading skills. There is also a list of objectives that are linked to the National Curriculum or the Development Matters for Reading. Your child’s class teacher will be focusing on these objectives with your child during Guided Reading, Whole Class Reading or 1:1 Reading. They will highlight the objectives when they feel it is embedded and that your child can demonstrate this skill independently and consistently. 

Changing Reading Books

All children from Nursery to Year 2 will change their Reading books and Pleasure for Reading book once a week. It is crucial that children reread texts and look carefully at and discuss vocabulary meaning, deepen their understanding of what has happened, recognise phonemes that they have been learning, talk about the key features of the text type and what they have read with confidence. Children are not moved onto the next book band based on how many books they have read. Their teacher will assess how confident they are based on their colour band targets.

Reading For Pleasure Books

Reading for pleasure has been defined by the National Literacy Trust as “reading that we do of our own free will, anticipating the satisfaction that we will get from the act of reading. It also refers to reading that having begun at someone else’s request we continue because we are interested in it” (Clark and Rumbold, National Literacy Trust, 2006).

Benefits of reading for pleasure

A growing number of studies show that promoting reading can have a major impact on children and adults and their future. Upon reviewing the research literature, Clark and Rumbold (2006) identify several main areas of the benefits to reading for pleasure:

• Reading attainment and writing ability;

• Text comprehension and grammar;

• Breadth of vocabulary;

• Positive reading attitudes;

• Greater self-confidence as a reader;

• Pleasure in reading in later life;

• General knowledge;

•A better understanding of other cultures;

• Community participation; and

• A greater insight into human nature and decision-making.


At High Oakham Primary School, the active encouragement of reading for pleasure is a core part of every child’s educational entitlement, whatever their background or attainment. High Oakham Primary School takes the view that extensive reading and exposure to a wide range of texts makes a vital contribution to every child’s educational achievement.  We strive to establish each child as a lifetime reader.  Becoming a lifetime reader is based on developing a love of reading. Studies are accumulating that highlight the importance of reading for pleasure for both educational as well as personal development.


We recognise that promoting reading can have a major impact on children, their future and their life chances!

Reading For Pleasure

As well as the daily opportunities to read, listen to stories and explore texts, we feel that it is crucial that children have the opportunity to choose their own books based on interests and intrigue rather than just because they are on a particular book band.

In order for our children to access a wide range of exciting, quality texts that they can read or have read to them, we will also let the children choose a ‘Reading For Pleasure’ book to take home each week from their classroom book collection. There will be an opportunity for your child to change their ‘Reading For Pleasure’ book every week or they might want to keep a particular book for longer. They will sign their book in and out of the classroom and be expected to take good care of their books both at school and at home.

Here are just some ideas for how you can promote a passion for reading with your child;

  • Let them hear you read! Parents and the home environment are essential to the early teaching of reading and fostering a love of reading; children are more likely to continue to be readers in homes where books and reading are valued.
  • Think carefully about where you are reading. Make a den, snuggle on a beanbag, read in the dark with a torch, make it a special time!
  • Get the whole family involved. Act out a story where you all take on the role of a character. Use a different voice to make it even more interesting!
  • Visit your local library and let your child choose to borrow books that interest them. They might have a particular interest that they want to research and maybe even complete a project or make a scrapbook about.
  • You don’t have to read the whole book. Try exploring the contents page, discussing the purpose of the glossary or looking at how the index page is in alphabetical order.
  • After you read the book, talk about the story. Go back and look at the illustrations again and talk about what happened. Point out any tricky words to see if your child can figure out what they mean by looking at the surrounding words and pictures.
  • Be sure to prompt your child to critique the book. Ask questions such as, What did you like? What did you dislike? What made you laugh? What did you learn?
  • Encourage them to read aloud to younger siblings, family members or even their favourite teddy!


It is important to start at a young age and teach your child the value of reading so they will grow to practise it often and value their ability to do so.


Now, go grab a good book and your child

and get reading together!