book banding guide

(83 Posts)

Someone very helpfully directed me to a website which contained a guide to how schools band books according to colour and despite huge googling efforts I can't find it.

It shows concordance between the ORT levels and all the other reading schemes.


Terrible sentence. I mean someone once guided me to the website and I can no longer find it.



LIZS Mon 20-Oct-08 16:29:41

iirc it was on a dyslexia site

dramaqueen Mon 20-Oct-08 16:41:54

Thanks but no that wasn't it. It showed which books were sorted into which colour bands in primary school. So there might be an ORT 3 with a storyworlds 5 all in, say, yellow band.

It was so helpful, I wish I'd saved the link.

any evening posters with The Knowledge?

Hulababy Mon 20-Oct-08 20:57:00

It was on one of the other threads IF; I remember it too. Guess you have tried searching on MN?

Hulababy Mon 20-Oct-08 21:00:46

It is linked to by ReallyTired towards the end of this thread - I can't get link to work properly, you may be able to

Thanks Hula, I'll try now.

Hulababy Mon 20-Oct-08 21:05:45

Link does work, I just don't seem to be able to link to it on here.

I found that one, it was helpful with the ORT books but there was another one which linked other books to the book bands.

I'm curious because dd seems to be on 'turquoise' level at school and I wondered which other books at the right level I could introduce her to. I don't even know if turquoise level is right but I thought if I saw a list of titles I could work out if she is on turquoise level.

castlesintheair Mon 20-Oct-08 21:09:12

That's interesting. Can someone tell me what National Curriculum Level 2B means?

Nope, haven't got a clue. Sorry, I'm constantly confused!

What's happened to mrz???

Hulababy Mon 20-Oct-08 21:21:53

I think it used to be here but link no longer works.

Hulababy Mon 20-Oct-08 21:25:40


By end of Y2 most children will be at Level 2. 2B is the norm. 2A is higher than 2C I think.

Obviously some children will not be at this level also. Some will reach it before end of Y2.

castlesintheair Mon 20-Oct-08 21:27:59

Ah thanks Hulababy, as in the STATS grading.

Hulababy Mon 20-Oct-08 21:30:38

IF - Is this any use to you? It isn't coloured coded, but it links to NC level (which you can match up from the other list - colour and NC level).

Hulababy Mon 20-Oct-08 21:30:56

Yes, linked to SATS

ListersSister Mon 20-Oct-08 21:32:12

This is the ORT within Book Bands if that helps...
ORT book bands

The Grid one Hulababy linked to doesn't exist anymore, but showed Book bands linked to the NC/SATs levels - ie yellow was 1c, Gold was 2a (I am making those up by the way, no idea which colour was which level)


nell12 Mon 20-Oct-08 21:32:44
nell12 Mon 20-Oct-08 21:40:19

The book I mentioned has all the different colour codes in it (a different colour for each sub-level or thereabouts)

That could be good hula but I don't know which level dd is on. I know she's reading stage 8/9 books and I think that's turquoise but I don't know if she's 2, 2a, 2c or any of those things. How can I work it out? I need to see some of the books she's reading on the list to know.

nell, that looks good but I'd like something online to look at.

ListersSister, that ORT list is the one hula linked to.

Hula, I think the one you tried to link to earlier that no longer works is the one I wanted to find. Dang.

ListersSister Mon 20-Oct-08 21:49:49

I have found a document that says Orange and Turquoise (band 6&7) are working towards Level 2, Purple and Gold (band 8&9) are working within Level 2. White/Silver are working towards Level 3.

Link is here HGfl - need to scroll down to a word doc under Achievements and Standards - bit of a pita to find!

Hulababy Mon 20-Oct-08 21:49:57

From the ORTlinked page:

NC Level 1:
1. pink
2. red
3. yellow
4. blue
5. green
6. orange

Working towards Level 2:
7. turquoise

Level 2C:
8. purple

Level 2B:
9. gold

Level 2A/3:

10. white
11. lime

Spectregadget Mon 20-Oct-08 21:51:43

Ok, I can give you some info, but it's all quite approximate you know, not set in stone:

ORT Stage 8 is roughly equal to a 2c (lower level 2). This is equal to Book Banding level Purple.

ORT Stage 9 is roughly equal to a 2b (middle level 2 - average Y2 child at the end of Y2) This is equal to Book Banding level Gold)

Personally speaking, I would say your dd is on the cusp of being able to transfer her reading to 'real' books, and would probably enjoy books like First Young Puffins, or Happy Families (Allan Ahlberg).


Hulababy Mon 20-Oct-08 22:01:57

DD really enjoyed the Happy Families books last year; read additional books outside of her school reading when we mamanged to get hold of some. Allan Alhberg does some other early reader books too, all good from our experience.

ListersSister, that's way too complicated for me! Thanks so much for trying though.

Hula, that would be about right I guess. She's just started Y1 so working towards level 2 is right, no?

spectre, I've tried some of the Corgi pups first chapter books and she can read almost all of it but she reads it like a robot whereas in some of the simpler reading scheme books she's got more 'flow' with her reading.

I'm in no rush to hurry her along so I thought a list of reading scheme books at her level would be good to dip into.

Except I can't find one!

Hulababy Mon 20-Oct-08 22:03:15

Happy Families - def worth getting IMO

spectre I'm pretty sure she's on turquoise level, not purple level. All the books she brings home have a blue-ish label on them, I haven't seen a purple one. She mostly seems to be reading Storyworlds level 8 or 9 but I think they are simpler than ORT. With ORT she can read stage 8 but struggles a bit with stage 9.

They look good hula. How do they compare, if you could hazard a guess to ORT? Would they be equivalent to stage 8 or would they be harder? Dd has quite low self-confidence so I don't want her to feel pushed too hard.

spectregadget Mon 20-Oct-08 22:13:10

Okay, turquoise level is the book banding just before purple. Is approx a 1a. 1a is approximately the level an average Y1 child (as if there is such a thing!) would be on leaving Y1. So your dd is doing pretty well; and if she enjoys reading aswell then that's even better than all the level rubbish!

Hula, I just looked them up on Amazon and they don't look too hard and perhaps more important for dd right now they don't have too many words per page! She gets quite daunted. That's such a bargain set too, they're £3.50 each on Amazon.

In the meantime I'd still like to find that book band list.

spectregadget Mon 20-Oct-08 22:14:02

Happy Families = ORT 9ish

Thank you spectre, that's what I'd thought, that she would be roughly average Y1 as she's not a genius. I would be surprised if she was reading at a Y2 level.

But how do I find books that relate to that?

wheresthehamster Mon 20-Oct-08 22:14:55

What about this link?

I did have a page bookmarked once that clearly tabled all reading schemes into colour bands but I can't find it.

Hulababy Mon 20-Oct-08 22:15:02

She'd cope with Happy Families at turquoise level I would think. We haven't done ORT for a while, didn't do stages 8/9 as part of school scheme. The stories are funny and wil make her giggle. There may be the odd words in it she needs help with, but that would be fine esp if reading to you. Books to enjoy as re-reads too.

Ok so maybe the Happy Families can go in her Christmas stocking. She may be more comfortable with ORT 9 by then.

spectregadget Mon 20-Oct-08 22:16:51

If she's reading at that level now, then that's pretty good, imaginaryfriend. A 1a is your average child leaving Y1 - we are only in November! She is doing very well. grin

where's the hamster, I used to have it bookmarked too and now I can't find it.

I just can't follow that list you linked to. I can't see any of the books dd's been reading lately on there. Thank you though.

Hulababy Mon 20-Oct-08 22:18:34

As they are fun books, they will help with fluency and stamina too - as she will want to get through to the end to see what happens, etc. They were good for encouraging fluency and expression IIRR

spectre, just re-read your other post. Blimey she's doing better than I thought then! I thought she was doing well but I'm aware she also struggles.

I'll definitely get that set of them hula. Dd loves funny books. How's your little dd doing by the way?

spectregadget Mon 20-Oct-08 22:21:14

If you mean she isn't quite fluent yet, then she is definitely close to it at the level she is reading, bet she takes off in no time.

Hulababy Mon 20-Oct-08 22:22:29

Really well thanks; keeping us busy with Y2 social life, lol! We are in birthday party season at the moment.

Did your DD settle into Y1 okay? Really sorry that letter never showed up; I promise it was posted. Poor DD ended up writing two as it was.

florenceuk Mon 20-Oct-08 22:23:19

Have you tried the Blue Bananas scheme? eg here They're mentioned on that last link, and in our local library. DS read them over the holidays and loved them. He's now just moved up to Gold, and we are moving onto the Red Banana books. Also Orchard Books do a series called Colour Crackers - there are some good books there, like Titchy Witch and Thunderbelle which would appeal to girls. here

Well I'm already bowled over by her. She always comes home with the same note in her reading diary which goes along the lines of 'encourage dd to read in a louder voice and to use more expression'. She's terribly terribly shy and self-conscious, it sounds nuts to say that about a 6-year-old but she is. At home she reads the Storyworlds books up to stage 9 briliantly but she tends to stall and go more and more quiet as she reads when the books are more tricky. Plus she starts to get upset when she doesn't know the words.

aintnomountainhighenough Mon 20-Oct-08 22:26:44

IF, if its any help my DD is reading a mix of books but these include ORT stage 8/9 they are banded dark blue at her school but I think that is their banding. After completing these she will be going onto choosing books from their library.

Hulababy Mon 20-Oct-08 22:26:51

The confidece with the reading will come Being wary of lots of words per page is very normal from what I see.

Hula - did your dd send 2 letters?? We didn't get either. Say thanks to her in any case?

Dd's settled into Y1 much better now, thanks. She'll always be shy but she's enjoying the structure and tasks they are given to do. She's peculiarly mad on spelling!

Hi anmhe! Your dd is doing really well! Dd's books have a kind of dark blue / deep turquoise band on them too. But she's not really at ease with ORT stage 9 yet. Stage 8 is ok.

florence the banana books look good but again I would be confused as to which level to get dd?

florenceuk Mon 20-Oct-08 22:42:01

I reckon judging from DS the Blue Banana ones would be fine - but I would definitely go to the library as they read them once and that's it.

You know, my library is rubbish for this kind of book, it's all picture books and novels with a few Cat in the Hat books thrown in.

florenceuk Mon 20-Oct-08 22:59:17

its a problem - because they really do just read the books once. DS was close to the level your daughter was on at the beginning of the summer holidays, so discovering a "fun" reading series was good for enthusing him. Happy families is on the Book People for £10, if that helps!

Thanks florence, hulababy alerted me to that little bargain!

any other morning advisors?

seeker Tue 21-Oct-08 11:11:12

<seeker pops in to wag a virtual finger at imaginaryfriend and to remind her that her dd is doing brilliantly and that she doesn't need to worry about what colour she's reading>

seeker grin I'm not worried, honestly I'm not! I was just thinking of getting her a few extra readers to have at home. They only bring home one book a week from school and all the ones I choose seem too hard or too easy!

Hulababy Tue 21-Oct-08 20:34:36

She'd def be fine with Blue Bananas

Thanks hula, I'll get some of those too.

seeker Tue 21-Oct-08 21:14:15

There's a Blue Banana called Three By the Sea that's so good that my dd still asks for it to be read to her when she's poorly or sad and she's 12!

Thanks seeker, I'll look out for it.

aintnomountainhighenough Tue 21-Oct-08 22:33:51

IF not sure where you live but, and I am sure I am telling you what you already know, but you can 'order' books through your library. I live in a small village with a small library, however I can go on line and look up a book I want and request it to be sent to my local library. If it is a childrens book this service is free! You might find that you can get these books within your library area but not actually at your library.

It doesn't seem to exist any more seeker. Only a Red Fox Reader with that title.

ChasingSquirrels Tue 21-Oct-08 22:48:20

would second the blue banana's and definately Titchy Witch - ds1 loved these. Our library had them and I think The Book People or Red House had the set of the recently.

I'm in London ANMHE. There are quite a lot of libraries around but our local ones are quite small and although they have a huge selection of picture books they have very few reading books for dd's age.

but in the meantime - what about the book band guide???

Hulababy, thanks for that list of colour bands.
Dd has just finished turquoise and moved onto purple (she is Y1)
I am also on the lookout for suitable books for her, will take dd to school and then read rest of thread smile

maverick Wed 22-Oct-08 09:17:10

Just a note of caution here; Bookbanding comes from the whole-language reading programme Reading Recovery.

Whole language books are fine ONCE your little ones are actually confident readers but it's absurd to use whole-language books with beginning readers.

They should be given decodable books to enable them to practise their newly taught phonics skills without the need to guess and memorise.

Decodable books cannot be linked into the Bookband scheme.

At dd's school they used a mixture of de-codable (jolly phonics) and other books. This seems to have worked well for most of the children.

IF - dd has had some of the Happy Families books out of our local library. She absolutely loves them and they are the right level for her - so they would be perfect for your dd too.

(It is hippipotami here btw, we have 'spoken' before. Am wearing my halloween dress smile)

maverick Wed 22-Oct-08 10:14:46

Let's look at the research on the subject:

‘The selection of text used very early in first grade may, at least in part, determine the strategies and cues children learn to use, and persist in using, in subsequent word identification.... In particular, emphasis on a phonics method seems to make little sense if children are given initial texts to read where the words do not follow regular letter-sound correspondence generalizations. Results of the current study suggest that the types of words which appear in beginning reading texts may well exert a more powerful influence in shaping children’s word identification strategies than the method of reading instruction’(Juel and Roper/Schneider. Reading Research Quarterly 18)

Whole-language reading books will cause problems for a small but significant number of beginning readers.

Maverick, I agree with you, but this thread is about IF's dd who is very far up the reading band scheme. So whatever scheme her school followed has worked for her. (as indeed it did for my dd)

So whilst I see what you are saying, I don't fully understand the relevance to IF's dd about whom this thread is.

florenceuk Wed 22-Oct-08 11:17:47

i didn't realise Rose Impey had written all the Colour Crackers: list here. The one about Monster and the Baby is hilarious - IME these are slightly easier than the Blue Banana ones but fun to read.

maverick Wed 22-Oct-08 16:02:10

bigscary, I'm aware that my post is not fully relevant to the OP but, knowing that the 'Bookbands' title to the thread would attract readers with children just beginning reading in schools using Bookbands, I thought it was a timely opportunity to warn them about the dangers, that's all smile

Thanks florence, another one for the list!

I think dd was taught to read with quite a firm phonics background. Where she gets stuck is with words she hasn't worked out how to decode, the word 'chance' for instance.

But I STILL want that list of colour banded books smile

mimsum Wed 22-Oct-08 22:33:39

maverick - so for those of us with kids at schools where they use the bookbanding approach what exactly would you have us do??

Thanks Maverick, sorry blush

I can't imagine any school not starting with a phonics reading scheme, but that may be me being naive.

Dd's school started with all the letter sounds, then simple cvc words and worked up from there.

They band according to Hulababy's post (pink, red, yellow etc) but there are a lot of phonics books in the early bands.
As the children move up the bands non-decodable words pop up every so often.

She is now reading purple level, adn the books she brings home are ORT level 9, as well as some non-ORT books.

I would love to know of other books at this level which I could buy for her (birthday adn Christmas fall in the same fortnight for dd) to satisfy her constant desire to read.

maverick Thu 23-Oct-08 10:37:18

It's only the lower levels of Bookbands which are a problem. Whilst children are developing a brain reflex/habit as a reaction to text they need to be given books to read that practise what they have learnt in class. Once they are confident readers then whole-language readers are fine.

In the case of a school that uses decodables AND whole-language readers, it doesn't make sense to a beginning reader to have two completely different ways of learning to read on different nights of the week. Monday -they, perhaps, get a decodable book which involves sounding out all through the word, then Wednesday the child gets a whole-language story book which involves repetitive and predictable text i.e relies on the child memorsing and guessing their way through the book.

As bigscary points out, perhaps the majority of children can sort this out in their heads and cotton-on to what it is they are expected to do with the different styles of readers -BUT a significant majority can't do so and become the struggling, reluctant readers in Yr1/2.

If your child's school is using whole-language readers (Bookbands) in Foundation then it is a clear indication that they don't understand the principles of synthetic phonics -this is likely to be due to poor training.

What to do? Well, first, ask their teacher to only give decodables to your child. If that doesn't work then you need to see the headteacher and/or approach the school governers.

You might find the following list helpful:

10 reasons why beginning readers should only use decodable books:

1. Decodable books are consistent with the synthetic phonics reading method; they go from simple to complex, use only explicitly taught code and illustrations are not overly dominant to avoid acting as clues to text. Taught code is used throughout words, rather than first letter emphasis, to ensure that transitivity is well understood. Sounding out is the only strategy required to read the words.
2. Whole-language/Banded books give child a misleading idea of what reading entails i.e. that it is a memorising and (psycholinguistic) guessing game.
3. In order to become expert readers, children need to know the complete Alphabet Code and the skills of blending and segmenting to automaticity. To ensure this, they need to be taught the code and the skills explicitly, intensively and systematically. Decodable books give them the necessary practice in recently taught code and skills.
4. There is no way of knowing which particular children in a class have poor visual memories or low phonological awareness ability. These children are likely to become struggling 'dyslexic' readers if whole-language books are used at first. Children with good visual memories plus a supportive home background may appear to do well, initially, with whole-language books BUT -see 5.
5. Decodable books avoid children developing the bad habit of sight word guessing. This can be difficult to change when they get older and the brain less 'plastic'. Those with good visual memories will develop this habit quickly and easily through the use of predictable, repetitive text. Eventually their memory for sight words will reach its limit and if they haven't, in the meantime, been taught or deduced the complete alphabet code for themselves they will struggle to read advanced texts with novel words.
6. Repetitive texts are boring to read; predictable texts, that a child can only struggle through by misreading and guessing resulting in lost comprehension, are discouraging. Both types of books can put a child off reading. 'Attitudes to reading in England are poor compared to those of children in many other countries' and 'Children in England read for pleasure less frequently than their peers in many other countries' (Pirls 2006) These findings are from the time when mixed methods and whole-language books were used in nearly all schools.
7. The use of decodable books is only necessary for a short period in the foundation stage. When well taught, most children learn the code quickly, begin to self-teach and can then move on to real books rather than being stuck for several years on reading schemes with the restricted word count necessary to ensure adequate memorisation of the high frequency words.
8. Good spelling is aided by the use of decodables.
9. Ease of decoding from the earliest days by simply sounding out and blending gives children quick success, ensuring enthusiasm for reading.
10. Parents easily understand the logic of decodable books and are more able and willing to help their children practise reading at home.


They didn't have bookbands in YR at dd's school. It's only started in Y1 and I don't know if all the groups get the same as dd's in a higher achieving literacy group. A couple of kids in her group are reading absolutely anything - Roald Dahl / Pippy Longstocking, they're doing really neat joined-up writing and their spelling is excellent. I know because of work displays and what dd tells me. Dd's nowhere near their level and I hope it doesn't put her off being by these child geniuses. She's doing really well but she's not abnormally bright.

I often wonder how they manage to do guided reading when within an ability group some are so much further ahead than others? Which book does the teacher choose? One for the super-readers or one for the good readers? Either way some of the kids either struggle or are unchallenged.

They also seem to do 'comprehension' tests in dd's class. Once a week dd gets taken out by the teacher to do reading by herself from a book she doesn't bring home and hasn't seen before. It's usually a band lower than her reading books. The teacher gets her to read it then asks lots of questions, I guess to make sure she's understood what she's reading rather than just reading parrot-fashion? Do other schools get this?

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