What is the average reading level by this point of reception?

(66 Posts)
Adikia Fri 07-Feb-14 11:28:17

I don't mean what is your child on as there are some very smart reception children about, just what is the level DD should aim for?

My son is G&T so don't want to compare them plus he's 10, so I can't really remember where he was by this part of term other than him having better stories in his books.

Hoogally Fri 07-Feb-14 11:35:47

Ds just moved to yellow level. It's been a bit of a slog some of his friends seem to have shot through the book bands.

I really don't think there is any sort of average when they are so new to reading. I read with some Y1 children and they range from stage 1 to stage 8, so an average would be pretty meaningless.

Bitlost Fri 07-Feb-14 11:44:13

I thought yellow was quite good at this stage. That's what I get my DD to read. She's a very late summer born.

givemeaclue Fri 07-Feb-14 11:49:12

They should aim to be min of yellow by end of reception. The range in reception is large, in our case ranging from pink to gold by end of the year. Some of those who didn't make much progress in reception have made very rapid progress in year one. One of the children who finished reception on pink went up five levels by half term year one, just had taken longer to get started. Current range is year 1 is yellow to free reader.

ReallyTired Fri 07-Feb-14 11:50:01

This is reallly a bit of a non sensical thread as the age of a reception child makes a bigger difference than basic intelligence or even standard of teaching. An august born child is at a massive disadvantage to a september born child. Academic differences due to maturity diminish over the years. Children tend to shoot through the reading bands once the concepts of blending and segmenting click. However there is more to reading than barking at print. Chidlren need to learn language and meanings of words.

Rather than comparing your daughter to other children prehaps its better to ask whether your daughter is making progress. Teaching methods have changed a lot since your eldest was in reception. Certainly my son had more interesting books as he was not restricted to decodable books.

What should your daughter aim for is very personal to her and is a question best answered by her teacher.

BucketsnSpades Fri 07-Feb-14 11:55:22

My DS is August born, not sure what the colour codes all mean but he is reading basic words and blending sounds. He loves books because he loves stories and facts. We read together, we talk about stories, he adapts stories to include him and his sister, he acts the stories in our front room. I think there is more to reading than decoding the words.

MumbleJumbles Fri 07-Feb-14 11:57:27

My reception year child is still on pink...still sounding out every blinkin' word confused. But DC is certainly not the only one left on pink, in fact I think half the class are still pink, half moved up to red. My yr2 child was still on pink at this stage in reception....is now gold in year 2 and one of the top of the class.

They'll all get there in the end, its not a race!

my2bundles Fri 07-Feb-14 11:59:14

I dont think there is an average at this stage, Some school have only just started sending books home, some have been sending them since Sept. each school is different so you carnt really get an accurate view on a forum.

columngollum Fri 07-Feb-14 12:00:11

Concentrate on reading the words in the books and forget about levels.

Levels are artificial designations to help teachers. They've got nothing to do with reading Goldilocks or Chicken Licken.

rainraingoAWAYNEVERCOMEBACK Fri 07-Feb-14 12:05:59

My DD was one of oldest in reception, sept born, so nearly a year ahead. however progress was slow but steady, literally the last weeks of reception something clicked, over the summer she was reading signs and stuff on her own, its was so much fun! ( so just before 6 and now she is 6.6) now she is in year one and reading books on her own.

rainraingoAWAYNEVERCOMEBACK Fri 07-Feb-14 12:06:41

( the books were the very basic ones, three words a page? right up to end of reception)

rainraingoAWAYNEVERCOMEBACK Fri 07-Feb-14 12:08:01

Rather than comparing your daughter to other children prehaps its better to ask whether your daughter is making progress

There is nothing wrong with asking what others are doing to get a rough gage of progress Really. There is nothing wrong with casting round for information.

Showy Fri 07-Feb-14 12:14:49

When dd was in reception there were dc who hadn't yet started on the scheme, ones at different levels (I remember green being the most common in the middle of the year) and 2 who were free readers (the youngest and oldest in the year respectively!).

What they concentrated on was encouraging a love of reading and individual progress.

MumbleJumbles Fri 07-Feb-14 12:16:20

you're right rain there isn't any harm, I find it very interesting.... I'm interested because somebody upthread (*givemeaclue*) said that in reception year it can range from pink through to gold - my DC in yr2 has just reached gold and is literally top 5 in the class (there are a few kids on white above). I thought this was great, so am surprised / interested to learn that some reception kids reach gold in their first 9 months of school reading!!!! Not saying I don't believe it, am just mightily impressed!

brettgirl2 Fri 07-Feb-14 12:20:54

according to reading chest green is the middle for year 1, unless the scheme at that school was different. How do people know what book band other kids are on anyway? confused I reckon red.

MumbleJumbles Fri 07-Feb-14 12:28:08

I was of the understanding that, according to national curriculum levels, its:
pink and red in reception
yellow / blue / green / orange in yr 1
turquoise / purple / gold / white in yr 2.

So if you have a reception child reading green, then they're doing brilliantly!

lottieandmia Fri 07-Feb-14 12:28:12

Thee is no point stressing about reading levels in reception. By the time they start year 3 they have all levelled out pretty much and it is not an indicator of intelligence or how well they're going to do later.

MumbleJumbles Fri 07-Feb-14 12:29:36

brettgirl2 one of my DC knows the reading band colour of nearly every child in the class. We're not a competitive family at all, so no idea how this has come about!

noramum Fri 07-Feb-14 12:32:34

Gold is a very high level at .reception and while I know a couple of children reading at this level it is unusual. I think most in DD's class ended on yellow or blue but there were still lots on red.

I agree the focus should be that progress is made not what level the child is. Our school had their own level system and in a way I was glad that I couldn't compare DD with her friends attending other schools.

givemeaclue Fri 07-Feb-14 12:48:22

Mumble, was just saying what the range was in dd's school, no idea how normal or otherwise that is. I have two children in year one, one is lime the other is gold. We do not in our family ever comment on book levels, we only praise effort and encourage a love of reading. If one says 'I went up a book level' we reply ' it's great you enjoy reading..' And do not comment on the level. With 2 children at the same educational stage it is key to us to avoid competition/ feeling like a race. My niece was way ahead of her peers reading at school, ultimately of course they all caught up and ended up the same level. She found this hard as wasn't ' special' any more. I think it's important to keep reminding children that wherever they are now, they will all finish infants able to read. They can all enjoy books and that is what counts.

Op I would aim for yellow by end reception.

GoodnessIsThatTheTime Fri 07-Feb-14 13:39:00

I'm interested to know how others are doing as my child is in a low achieving area. So what is "good" for our school, might not be good nationally/elsewhere. She is top set, but that could well equate to middling elsewhere (and I'm sure it would be!).

thegreylady Fri 07-Feb-14 13:43:42

Dgs will be 5 next week and has just moved to orange. His brother wasn't there till Year1

thegreylady Fri 07-Feb-14 13:46:01

The older one is now in Y2 and has ptogressed to 'free reading' having finished white just before Christmas. His spelling though...

allyfe Fri 07-Feb-14 13:50:41

I honestly just don't get the reading levels/colours. My DD had two ORT books that were stage 3, which is blue, but which had a lime and some other colour on the little colour tab bit. It is those I really just don't get. I also thought that the YR aims from the NC were levels 1, 2 & 3 (ideally).

For OP, I can tell you that my DD is considered one of the more confident readers on Blue. It is very normal for children to be on Pink, or Red or Blue. There are also children on level 4 and higher.

As other people have said, I have known of children who go very slowly in YR but then who fly later on. When it comes down to it, my hope for my DD is that she is enjoying it (at the moment that is less apparent, she loved it for a while but now has lost a little interest and motivation). I would love for her to be enjoying it and speeding through levels, but I was a very slow at reading until I was in junior school, and then really discovered books in secondary school, and then did an English degree, so I know it can take time smile

RonaldMcDonald Fri 07-Feb-14 13:52:01

all mine entered reception not reading and by year 2 could read confidently

spend 10 mins a night and the school will normally highlight a problem

There is no 'average', there are so many factors to take into account.

In my reception class half are still on pink, a couple are not really there yet and on purple, ten are on red and two are on blue.

The important thing is that they are all making progress and all doing well at their phonics, it just hasn't clicked into fluid reading for them all yet.

Compare that with my DS who started reception as a fluent reader <shrugs> . Most children catch up and progress as long as they are taught well.

efrieze78 Fri 07-Feb-14 13:55:39

My DD is in reception and is the youngest in the class. She has just moved on to Green but this is very high and higher than her older sister was at the same stage (and one of th eoldest in the class). I was always very aware of the stages/levels but what other people say is true, they do all get there in the end and they need to stick with learning the basics as fully as possible as some children eneded up having to go back to the beginning of the stages as they had missed some of the crucial phonics rules along the way. Good luck.

sixlive Fri 07-Feb-14 14:02:21

They all learn to read fluently in the end unless there is a problem. Only when they can't access the rest of the work because they can't read well then it becomes an issue so definitely not in reception. So many of the early readers are caught up or overtaken in yr1/yr2.

six, unfortunately 16% of UK adults are functionally illiterate and do not learn to read fluently. However, comparing levels in Reception won't help address that issue.

Hoogally Fri 07-Feb-14 14:10:18

This is all really interesting.

As I said uPthread DS has just moved from red to yellow but it feels like all his friends are shooting up levels faster.

I know this sounds crazy but I feel like they let them go up earlier in the other class. They won't move DS up until he has mastered the applicable "tricky/high frequency words" in addition to the digraphs/trigraphs. Whereas the other class focuses just on the blending and digraphs etc not the high frequency words.

I keep telling myself it's good he is learning the basics well but I worry he will get left behind.

He is amazing at his handwriting but they don't seem to push that, just his reading. He loves science stuff and gets maths concepts really well. But the reading he is so unconfident.

I read with him every night but I worry sometimes that I'm letting him down as I'm also tied up with his baby sister and I don't get why he isn't keeping up with his friends.

I worry I'm failing him and it will affect his future. So it's good to hear that these things have a habit of levelling out.

allyfe Fri 07-Feb-14 14:18:37

Hoogally If you read with him every night then you are doing a great job. Don't feel bad. There are so many expectations now days which I think just didn't exist when I was at school. The aim is always raise standards, but realistically, parents work, or they have other children, and reception children get so tired, so is it worth everyone slogging themselves to death to have a free reading child in reception? Honestly, I don't think so. Being able to read early doesn't raise your IQ level. It doesn't even necessarily represent your IQ level. And, IQ level is not directly related to success in academia or life generally. It is so much more about intellectual curiosity and passion for learning. Saying that, whilst part of me knows it, I find it so hard not to get caught up in the desire for my child to be doing brilliantly at school - but that is my issue to deal with!

3bunnies Fri 07-Feb-14 14:22:20

This chart shows ages and appropriate level - so red is part way through 4-5. I have found that it varies so much from child to child. Ds is about a year and a half ahead of his sisters in terms of when they read various levels - but I know dc who were free reading at the end of reception who are now at a similar stage to dd1 now that they are in yr4.

rainraingoAWAYNEVERCOMEBACK Fri 07-Feb-14 14:24:36


Same here, failing schools all round us.

Some MN think we should not ask questions or try and seek out knowledge.

In a country that is woefully behind others in Europe in reading and so on would say its critical to get gage of progress, and is going on.How we apply that is down to us as parents but we need to ask questions and know.

I am trying to gage reading levels on another thread,its like pulling teeth and wading trhough mud.

Hoogally Fri 07-Feb-14 14:24:43

Thank you.

I know I'm biased but I think DS is fantastic. He is endlessly inquisitive about the world, how things work, he has great fine motor skills read:can build stupidly detailed Lego stuff, has an amazing imagination and is really creative and he gets concepts really well.

But all they seem to focus on is reading.

I feel like so much of who he is, is missed. But maybe this will change as they get older.

allyfe Fri 07-Feb-14 14:25:08

But 3Bunnies that is what I don't understand - sometimes it says that yellow is level 3, but my DD is on level 3 but her colour is very much blue. In other places I've found ORT level 3 is blue. I guess it is a good way of addressing parent competitiveness, just put different information in different places and confuse everyone :D

rainraingoAWAYNEVERCOMEBACK Fri 07-Feb-14 14:34:36


My dd was also slow in reception it was literally the last few weeks something clicked and she is flying along now.

I think I would more worried if by age 7 they were still struggling. at this age they are on the cusp

GoodnessIsThatTheTime Fri 07-Feb-14 15:55:53

But hoo's child isn't slow... the charts linked above say level 3 yellow/blue is year 1so nationally he is ahead.

It's awful she feels he is behind sad

This is where schools and cohorts differ so much.

Honsandrevels Fri 07-Feb-14 16:05:22

I've looked at the reading chest levels but am confused dd's ORT books are green but say stage 2 phonics on them. Are the phonics ones different levels/colours?

3bunnies Fri 07-Feb-14 16:20:12

At our school they went through and retrospectively rebanded all the books, as there wasn't the money to buy all new books. Sometimes a book might have been level 2 when they used more learn and say, high frequency words and a mixture of methods. Now that they focus more on just phonics as a teaching method those books which might have high frequency words but phonetically more challenging could be yellow band because a child would not be able to decode it until they have covered more of the phonics syllabus. We are told to look at the colour on the book spine. Confusingly some books - eg Songbirds are almost completely one colour with a tiny tab on the side of the book saying it is another colour book band.

Dd1 went through when it was all numbered levels so I still get confused by which colour comes after another- especially when some colours look quite similar.

caffeinated Fri 07-Feb-14 16:28:44

Ds3's class high achieving infants 55-60% level 3 in reading at end of year 2 with 150 pupils per year group.

Class split into 5 groups
Group 1 is on level 3/yellow has been since just before Christmas
Group 2 is on level 3/yellow since Christmas
Group 3 is on level 2/ red since Christmas
Group 4 is on level 1/pink has been since October
Group 5 is on level 1/pink has been since November

There are 2 children that aren't in a group and reading level 5/green.

3bunnies Fri 07-Feb-14 17:01:12

Also remember that different teachers/schools have different policies to putting them up a level. Our school has some magic formula which seems to be a mixture of child's ability, teacher's preferences and parent pushiness. For instance twins in parallel classes might be able to read each other's books but could be on very different reading levels because one teacher likes them to be reading every single word quickly without decoding and only listens to them every few weeks whereas another teacher listens to them every week and is happy to put them up when they can decode most of the words. Another school insists that they read every single book at every single level as each book has a different emphasis on different sounds. A child of the same ability could be at different bands in the different schools/ classes.

BucketsnSpades Fri 07-Feb-14 17:59:55

I have just checked out 3bunnies link and DS bookbag. He is on blue books at his school. The content of the books looks exactly like the sample pages of the pink books on the link.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Fri 07-Feb-14 18:53:30

Honsandrevels it's not that the phonics one are different colours.

There are lots of different reading schemes and each one levels their books in their own way. So for example, all level 2 ORT books, regardless of series have a green spine because that's the colour they chose when they created the scheme. All level 3 ORT have a blue spine.

Some school only use one scheme so they can easily use the scheme they have as it is set out. Other schools use a variety of schemes. Book bands were created to help these schools to group books from different schemes into roughly equivalent levels which are each given a colour. There are a couple of different banding schemes and some schools have created their own.

Blu Fri 07-Feb-14 19:34:26

DS couldn't read at all by this stage in R, I don't think.
He sailed out of primary with 5A SATS and is now tagged G&T in literacy in secondary.

Honsandrevels Fri 07-Feb-14 19:48:38

Thanks Rafa, that makes sense. The reading chest chart doesn't show green at all until a later stage which confused me, although I was pretty sure she hadn't shot through five bands without me noticing!

lalasmum17 Fri 07-Feb-14 20:17:33

I REALLY wouldn't fret about reading levels. The link to the chart from 3 bunnies might help you guess how the books your child reads link into the book bands (i remember trying to figure it out for myself and I am sure my DD's colours didn't correspond). I still think you should make a conscious effort to add a couple of new words to your child's vocab every day and explain the meaning. Later on, when they see a word and try to sound it out but it does quite work they can probably correct themselves having understood the context.

We had a sorry slog through ditty sheets in reception autumn term and I really did wonder why my daughter couldn't link noises to symbols. Then something "clicked" and we had books after a couple of months. Some of the older kids were reading school letters about clubs whereas my daughter was still at the stage of sounding out and summarising. With all the backwards writing and then, better still, starting to read a sentence then suddenly reading a word in the middle backwards I prepped myself.

Fast forward to year 2 she LOVES reading and those scheme books are a very distant memory.

Brightoncheery Fri 07-Feb-14 21:42:45

DS summer born, not reading before school, on orange, reads with ease but not being moved further as school considers that subject matter too old. Instead he reads books from school and public libraries, which he enjoys. He seems so little to be at school, so as long as he's happy and enjoying school I'm happy!

pyrrah Fri 07-Feb-14 21:54:20

Haven't a clue - DD's school don't do reading with sets of books so no way of knowing what level anyone is on. She has a huge variety of books come home from lots of different schemes and none.

I'm not really too worried about her level anyway. As long as she is enjoying school and enjoying reading and going forwards not backwards then that is all I care about. She's not the kind of kid who would take kindly to my 'encouraging' anything.

The school get phenomenal results so I'm just sitting back and trusting them to get on with it. If they think there is an issue then I'm sure they will let me know.

WidowWadman Fri 07-Feb-14 21:59:30

I've no idea what level my daughter is on, as the reading books she brings home (and the e-books she can access via school login) are too easy for her and she's flying through them.

We asked the teacher before to give her more challenging books, but were told we should feel free to let her read whatever she wants from the library, but the reading books from school have a different purpose, whatever that is. She's in the top group, so at least gets as much support as she can in her class, I guess.

She's a ravenous reader, however tends to do also a lot of circumstancial guessing, which means that nonsense words are not easy to her, as she'll first guess a proper word before slowing down and sounding out when asked.

RiversideMum Sat 08-Feb-14 07:33:39

I think the thing to remember is that it's not a competition. Parents in reception get very hung up on reading as it's the main thing that they can measure (given that levels in maths and writing don't exist yet). In my experience, most children, apart from those that need lots of extra ongoing help, are readers by the end of reception. I don't give out books til the children can blend for reading. At the moment, half my class have books - which is a little behind where we were last year, but ahead of the year before that. It is certainly not the case that the children who are very early readers are always the brightest or always go on to have marvellous success later in school.

AcrylicPlexiglass Sat 08-Feb-14 08:29:58

Read to them everyday and get them to read to you as much as possible as long as it's not frustrating them and you (if it is back off). Most children will start reading fluently at some point by the end of infants. I wonder whether there is any correlation between early reading fluency and reading as an older child/adult? I don't remember learning to read but know it came easily and early to me. Nowadays I hardly ever read anything apart from computer screens. My sons barely read a thing either unless forced. One of them taught himself to read before reception and never used the school reading scheme and the other struggled for ages before having a lightbulb moment at about 6. Neither of them has a love of books particular ly, despite having a librarian for a dad!

columngollum Sat 08-Feb-14 08:34:02

I don't think anyone ever said that early reading equals career success, not parents or teachers. But reading must be done. It's one thing ticked off the list. No one ever said washing was all there is to housework. But that's not an argument in favour of neglecting it, being lax about it or pretending that it doesn't matter. Both are tasks which it makes perfect sense to accomplish swiftly and efficiently.

AcrylicPlexiglass Sat 08-Feb-14 08:50:19

Learning to read to a fluent level is more like toilet training than washing, ime. You need the child to be ready AND give them lots of opportunities to learn and practice AND keep your cool and stay encouraging when they have setbacks. The vast majority will get there in the end with good teaching and practice once the readiness is there, imo.

tricot39 Sat 08-Feb-14 14:30:54

This thread is very interesting and highlights how different schools can be - even when theoretically they are all on eyfs!

Our school is not using book bands in yr. The average progress seems to be compound phonic sounds like oo and oi this last week or so. This seems very slow compared to ds' school nursery where they did phonics in the latter part of the year and by the end were sounding out simple words. By the time ds started school he could read basic stuff but we had no idea how much..... He was taken out of phonics and reads with y1. Other kids do y1/y2 different groups depending on their stage. I think this is great fr our ds but think maybe the average pace for the rest may be too slow. I am sure the school whete ds was at nursery uses a phonics scheme which got them onto books (albeit simple ones) quickly. I am interested to see how all these different methods pan out. No idea if thid helps you op!?

zingally Sat 08-Feb-14 14:43:37

I teach infants.

The average reception child... Doesn't really exist. Although I'd be happy enough with a child who knows the vast majority of their single letter sounds and can sound out and blend 3 and 4 letter phonic words. Most chn are still on pink at this stage in the year, some will be on red and a very few might be on blue.

Adikia Sat 08-Feb-14 18:56:42

Thank's all, DD has just moved on to yellow (as in moved up on Thursday). It's parent's evening next week so I'll talk to the teacher then, it's just because there's a group of super competitive mum's and loud conversations about 'oooh Tarquin, you've got a green book' are quite common at the school gates and starting to get to me. DS was a free reader by year 1 so it was never an issue with him as I didn't have a level to compare.

GoodnessIsThatTheTime Sat 08-Feb-14 19:26:55

She's doing really well then smile

SapphireMoon Sat 08-Feb-14 20:17:22

Pink, pink, pinkerty pink here/ level 1.
La, la, la and fingers in ears to all you other colours!!

AGoodPirate Sun 09-Feb-14 12:12:18

We are year one and just moved from getting a mix of pink, yellow, and red - to blue, green and turquoise.
The books are loads longer! Summer born here.

freetrait Sun 09-Feb-14 21:08:52

DD, Autumn born, reading yellow/blue. However, rather like with her brother I am now finding that we are driving her reading. What I mean by this is that she has an ability, appetite and willingness to read more and more, to learn more sounds and basically LEARN TO READ (fluently), but school are rather stuck on the softly softly approach. So, as with her brother I am supplying books, and being led by her on how much she wants to do. For example today she read about 3 or 4 blue phonics stories.
More reading generally means more practice which means more improvement. However, you can't force it, their brains and motivation go in stages, it's a bit like catching the wave. If you catch the wave and go with it you can make a lot of progress in a short time. Then it will be time to back off for a while until the next wave etc.

GoodnessIsThatTheTime Sun 09-Feb-14 21:45:29

We've found that free. I'm caught between giving her the next stage up but with an awareness that school hasn't taught some of the "newer" sounds yet.

So we often just revise books I know she can read so she gains confidence.

We like the oxford owl website generally. But it shows how rubbish some of the biff/kipper ones are as they're not all phonetically matched.

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Sun 09-Feb-14 21:48:44

I think yellow is good to be honest. Am pretty sure my DD was on yellow this time last year. She finished reception on blue. She is a good reader who couldn't read when she started school. A few classmates were higher than this but they were the ones who started school reading. Your DD is doing fine.

freetrait Mon 10-Feb-14 21:57:01

I am teaching the new sounds as DD is eager and I don't see why she shouldn't learn them if she's ready. Go with the child is a good mantra. Ie if child ready and eager to learn, even leading it, go, go ,go with it. You are daft not to IMO.

LiegeAndLief Mon 10-Feb-14 22:11:41

I really wouldn't worry about reception reading levels. My ds was very slow off the mark and didn't bring a reading book home at all until te beginning of Y1. He was a free reader in Y2. I'm sure by the time they finish primary you won't have a clue who was first onto gold etc, just like I can't stand in the playground and pick out the kids who walked at 9 months.

IdRatherPlayHereWithAllTheMadM Mon 10-Feb-14 22:27:07

just like I can't stand in the playground and pick out the kids who walked at 9 months

V good point

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