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Year 5 and 6

High Oakham Primary School

Key Stage 2 - Years 5 & 6

Reading Book Bands &  

Reading for Pleasure


Key Stage 2 – Years 5 and 6

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. In Year 3, children will begin to access Copper and Topaz books. As children move into Year 4, they will begin on the book band colour that they were on when they left Year 3. The book banding system is new to Year 5 and 6 so we will be assessing the children over the course of this half term to allocate the book band that is appropriate to their reading ability.

Year 5/6

When starting in Year 5 or 6, the expectation is that many children will be able to read with fluency, and at a speed sufficient for them to focus on understanding. They should be reading many words on sight, and using a range of strategies consistently and automatically to address unfamiliar or challenging words. They will also use some of their strategies to determine the meaning of new words. At this stage, we would be looking for the children to enjoy reading a range of texts, making choices and explaining reading preferences, including favourite authors and text types, and for them to ask questions to help improve their understanding. They will continue to take part in Guided Reading and spelling lessons that will support them in developing their understanding of texts and further develop their use of inference and deduction. The focus continues to be on ‘reading to learn’.

Reading at Home

Children in Year 5 and 6 are expected to read at home for ten minutes, at least 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. Children are also welcome to write in their own reading diary when they have 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.


Lower Key Stage 2

Children in Year 3 will be building up to reading Copper Band books which is the age-related band. Some children who are exceptional readers, might move on to Topaz Band books. Children entering Year 4 will be building up to reading Ruby Band books which is the age-related band. Some children who are exceptional readers, might move on to Emerald Band books.



Changing Reading Books

All children in Year 5 and 6, will change their Reading books once a week if the children have read all of the books at home. This will take place every Friday. It is crucial that children reread texts and look carefully at and discuss vocabulary meaning; deepen their understanding of what has happened; recognise spelling rules 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!

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 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.
  • 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.
  • You do not 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.
  • Be sure to prompt your child to comment on 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.

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!



Year 5 and 6 Glossary of Terms for

Reading objectives and targets


Decode: to sound out (segment) a word using knowledge of phonics.

Inference: to draw conclusions based on what has been read.

‘His shoulders slumped as he walked away.’ (He is unhappy.)

Morphology: how words are formed prefix +root word+ suffix - Dis+appear+ed.

Etymology: where words originate from e.g. hydro (from Greek meaning water).

Summarise: to recap the main points of a text in a succinct manner.

Figurative language: words and images to suggest meaning and create mental images (see below for examples).

Metaphor- a figure of speech that is used to make a comparison between two things that aren't alike but do have something in common.

‘You are the apple of my eye.’ ‘He was such a busy bee.’

Simile - A simile is a figure of speech that directly compares two different things.

‘As cold as ice.’ ‘She sang like an angel.’

Analogy - compares two things that are mostly different from each other but have some traits in common. By showing a connection between two different things, writers help to explain something important about one thing by using a second thing you already know about.

‘Life is like a box of chocolates - you never know what you’re going to get.’

Imagery - using descriptive language to appeal to the reader’s senses.

‘He felt like the flowers were waving hello.’

‘The F-16 swooped down like an eagle after its prey.’

‘The lake was left shivering by the touch of morning wind.’


Style and effect- style identifies how ideas are shown in language. It is not what is said but how it is said. The effect of how an author uses words and devices (see above) to help understanding the meaning of a text.