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Reception class coloured reading levels

(27 Posts)
southernbelle77 Thu 11-Jun-09 14:49:35

I've had a quick look through some posts about the level children in reception should be on at the end of the year and I'm still confused!

Do all schools now have to use the same coloured sticker bands for all different reading scheme books? At dd's school they use many different reading schemes including ORT and storyworld. Each book has a coloured sticker on the front.

I don't quite understand the levels as, for example, dd has bought home an ORT book which says levels 4, set B which had a yellow sticker on the front. She has also brought home an ORT book which is level 4, set B, but has a blue sticker on the front. How on earth does this make sense? The same applies to storyworld. The levels on the back of the book doesn't seem to correspond with the coloured stickers on the front!

So, is there a coloured sticker level that dd should be reading by the end of reception, year 1 etc? If so, what it is and does it really matter if they behind or ahead of this?

Hoping this makes sense!

pagwatch Thu 11-Jun-09 14:58:37

It amkes sense but no, it does not matter.
In early years reading the school will try and keep the reading at the childs level so the levels are to keep that measurable.
If you are lucky ( as I am) the school will intersperse other reading options and be flexible about what levels the child works on according to their needs throughout the term.
A crap school will stick slavishly to level 5 book one, book two blah blah.

In the worst of all scenarios a childs parents will start angsting and comparing books with other children and therin lies disaster.

Ifthe book is challenging for your child but not duanting then it is the right book. Everything else is in coloumn Z of Things Which Are Important.

My best tip is to read the book in the bag and don't look at the levels. I have managed this and DD is nearly in year two. I also only know what one other girl is reading because her mother keeps telling me. But as I have no idea what levels anyone else is on she is wasting her breath grin

southernbelle77 Thu 11-Jun-09 14:58:42

Sorry, another quick thought....

Are there 45 words that they should be able to read at the end of reception, or 100?

souvenir Thu 11-Jun-09 14:58:54

Message withdrawn

pagwatch Thu 11-Jun-09 15:04:53

Do you have any reason to be concerned ?

Reading levels at this age are vastly variable and an unreliable indicator of ultimate ability.

southernbelle77 Thu 11-Jun-09 15:07:51

No reason at all! Just starting thinking about it when another parent was going on about what reading level their child was on and I have no idea if dd is doing well or not! I think she is doing quite well and she enjoys it (most of the time!). I don't want to be sucked into the competitive parent thing, but would also like to know how she is doing, itms!

misshardbroom Thu 11-Jun-09 16:02:25

yep, I'm with the very sensible pagwatch.

Insert fingers into ears and repeat 'lalala, I'm not listening' if anyone tries to talk to you about what reading level your child is on / their child is on / what level they 'should' be on by the end of reception.

If your DD is bringing home progressively more difficult books, managing them well with the exception of some words she finds challenging, and enjoying her reading, then she's doing well.

And there's nothing to stop you getting her to read other stuff at home too, my DD is in reception and is thrilled to bits with herself to find she can read some of the picture books in her book case herself.

{{mhb realises she's straying dangerously towards doing exactly what she said not to do, so strolls off whistling innocently}}

Seeline Thu 11-Jun-09 16:09:19

At our school, there is no reading scheme at all. Children simply choose a book from the class library to bring home each night to 'share' with an adult. This can either be read by the child, to the child or in combination. And yes they do all learn to read, and most of them learn to love books - you just have to learn very early on not to compare your child's progress with those at other schools!!

zeke Thu 11-Jun-09 18:23:26

At the end of reception the normal range will be pink, red, yellow and blue. The majority of the class are likely to be on red or yellow.
Sounds like your daughter is doing well with her reading!

charliejess22 Thu 11-Jun-09 20:30:00

I agree with the majority of posts here that say forget the levels and enjoy the reading and as long as your child is reading a 'challenging' book (they should be able to read 90% and then have 10% to challenge them) and is doing well then it doesnt matter what level they are on.

however... to answer your question lots of different companies make reading books and they all put them in level bands. The coloured stickers are called book bands and they basically match all of the different reading schemes up to the same level - so red sticker ORT is the same level as red sticker Ginn even if the ORT book is their level 5 and the Ginn is their level 2. As a teacher (year 1), I have had so many parents questioning these stickers and getting worried when they were on ORT level 5 and now they are on ORT level 4, or they were on gold stickers and are now on purple...... all parents are concerned that their children are doing well.

there used to be 45 key words for reception children that they should have been able to read by the end of reception and another 100 words for years 1 and 2 that they should be able to read by the end of year 2. Most schools are not using these any more as far as I know but I guess some schools will still use them as an easy way to monitor a child's reading development.

I am by no means saying that you should be concerned or worried etc... I am just answering your questions

ImissBGT Thu 11-Jun-09 21:00:44


Do you know why they no longer use the 45 key words? What have they been replaced with?

mrz Thu 11-Jun-09 21:13:53

Rather sensibly they realised that children didn't need to learn words such as "at" and "in" and "up" by sight as they are easily decodable so reduced the list to "tricky words" that aren't decodable until children learn the necessary skills.
Initially the words are



trickerg Thu 11-Jun-09 21:20:43

Seeline - what a lovely idea. .... but I reckon it would go down like a lead balloon at our school.

katiestar Fri 12-Jun-09 16:03:19

Seeline - that is the approach to learning to read they took in the 1970s when I was at school.It was driopped pretty quickly though when they found a generation where half of the children couldn't read !!
The coloured stickers correspond most likely to 'book bands'
Turquoise ( level 2C)
Purple (level 2B)
Gold (level 2A)
I think on average children move up a band a term but of course there are huge variations on this.

MollieO Fri 12-Jun-09 20:53:44

My ds has been on the same band since nursery and now at the end of reception. Hardly any discernable progress at all.

mrz Sat 13-Jun-09 08:12:05

Could I ask what band MollieO?

ImissBGT Sat 13-Jun-09 15:48:20

Does anyone know the criteria by which the book bands are worked out? I regularly come across books which seem too easy or particularly hard for a particular colour band.

Also, I find it strange that the book bands are linked to national curriculum levels, as reading ability is measured only by written comprehension papers in the KS1 sats as far as I know.

The reason I ask is that ds is on purple (2B), so judging by the levels, this represents average attainment for end of Y2. However, ds is in reception and although he's an able reader, if he was to try and write answers to SATs reading papers, this would be too hard.

Not sure if this is clear? am confused.

mrz Sat 13-Jun-09 16:17:12

In the KS1 SATs reading is assessed by a comprehension test and also by a "miscue analysis" type test and verbal questioning where the child is asked to read from a selection of books (not reading scheme)and mistakes are marked down on a grid.

The books this year included
Senses by D & P Glover
Super Sid the Silly sausage Dog by Sam Lloyd
Mr Wolf's Pancakes by Jan Fearnley
George and the Dragon by Chris Wormell
Where's My Mummy by Jo Brown
Hungry Hen by Richard Waring

There are different banding schemes the main ones used are Book Banding for Guided Reading and the Cliff Moon Book Bands. These don't always match reading scheme levels so can be confusing.

trickerg Sat 13-Jun-09 16:54:58

At the end of Y2, L2 and 3 children do NOT have to do a reading 'task' any more with the miscue analysis. They do test papers *to inform teachers for assessment.* L1 children do the reading task with the teacher, as there are no comprehension papers at this level.

*KS1 levels at the end of Y2 are based on neither tasks nor tests - they are based on teacher assessment.*

Reading ability is levelled according to reading objectives met by the children, not by their score on a test or a task.

The band colours give an approximate level for the children's reading comprehension, so purple books at a level of 2B would equate to the expected level for a Y2 child at the end of year 2.

southernbelle77 Sat 13-Jun-09 17:41:46

I totally agree, dd has bought books home which seem really easy, and some which seem really hard on same book band. But then, I don't understand how it works so there might be more to it!

I've decided that I'm going to try and not listen to anymore playground talk of who is on what level! DD read her book to me this morning really beautifully. There was only a couple of words she struggled with and they were tricky words which we are going to work on. She loves it when she can read her books really well so it's nice when she brings home a book that isn't too tricky for her!

mrz Sat 13-Jun-09 17:55:50

Actually trickerg the miscue reading task is for level 1-2 according to the Teacher's Guide "Children who are assessed by means of the reading task (miscue) do not need to take the reading test if you feel that you have enough information to make your overall judgement."

HappyMummyOfOne Sat 13-Jun-09 18:06:47

I've noticed DS has had some ORT books at the same level in different colours as well - but looking closely some were "owls" and the other a different one so presume there is a slight different albeit the same level.

There are only 7 other children in his class and I have no idea what level they are on and really dont care. DS is enjoying reading and progressing well so thats all that matters to me. They get to choose their own books from the colour range and there is a good selection not just ORT - although DS likes the magic key books so we end up with most of them. At the moment we have one from his current level and one from the next colour band up to challenge him and its working very well.

We have our own Ladybird books etc at home and DS reads me a bedtime story and then I choose a harder book that I read. Works well and, like your DD Southernbell, he loves it when he can read the book easily so I do keep some easy ones for bedtime reading and read the more challenging ones in the day.

trickerg Sat 13-Jun-09 18:09:03

Not in my book mrz!!!
On p21 it has a grid saying 'children judged to be working at L1: use the L1 reading task;
chidren judged to be reading at L2 use the L2 task or the L2 test.'

HappyMummyOfOne Sat 13-Jun-09 18:11:06

Oops OP, just realised you are on about reading in reception and DS is in YR1 - dont think it matters through as assume the levels follow through in the same pattern anyway.

mrz Sat 13-Jun-09 18:16:15

The quote is from page 2 Children to be tested

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