Welcome to St Swithun's Church of England Primary Academy. Valuing individuals, aspiring and achieving together in faith.

St Swithun's Church of England Primary Academy

Valuing individuals, aspiring and achieving together in faith


 At St Swithun's we are passionate about reading and writing. We believe that reading gives children an inner wellspring that they can draw on throughout their lives and helps them to connect with their own and others' feelings and experiences.

We aim to develop a deep love of reading through rich interractions with books that sets them on a lifelong literary journey...

We do this by:

  1. securing children's decoding skills through systematic phonics teaching from Early Years
  2. whole class teaching of comprehension skills through Reciprocal Reading from Early Years - this ensures that texts with more complex themes are made accessible to all cildren regardless of their decoding skills.
  3. small group Guided Reading, where children practice Reciprocal Reading strategies: prediction, clarification, questioning and summarising 
  4. home reading and sharing of personal book recommendations through class 'Book talk' time
  5. daily whole class story time

All teaching staff have been trained to teach reading through the use of Reciprocal Reading strategies.

Your child's reading journey initially follows books that are banded by colour.

There are general guidelines about which book bands should be covered in each year group.

In year 2 for example, children working at age related expectations should be reading books in gold, white or lime bands.

Please remember however that children learn in different ways and make progress at different times. It is possible that there may be seven year olds on book band red and five year olds on book band turquoise.

The table at the bottom of the page gives the approximate book bands for each stage in school.

Please note:

  •  As a rough guide, children are expected to reach lime level at around seven years old. Children who read above lime level are reading fairly fluently and although some books are still graded above this level (and may well be given to your child), children are reading such a wide range of material that the banding becomes of less importance.
  •  The books will vary in a number of ways including length, vocabulary and sentence structure This might not always be obvious as there are some picture books with challenging vocabulary and subject matter. The aim is to give the children the skills and opportunity to experience a wide variety of different types of literature. The difference between each colour band is meant to be gradual, so that children do not experience great difficulty as they progress through the scheme.
  •  Alongside their growing ability to decode words, children are taught comprehension skills. Progress through the bands is not supposed to happen too quickly and it is important to ensure that children working in the early bands have secure understanding.
  •  This guidance can only give a rough idea of the right reading level for your child. There will be a wide range of reading abilities in any school year. As a guide, children should be able to read at least 90% of the words on the page without any problem. If the book is too easy, they may become bored. If it's too difficult, they can become frustrated, and may have to concentrate so hard on reading the words that they lose the enjoyment of understanding the story.

 Please be aware that:

A child will not benefit from being rushed through books. It is not a race, it is a journey! Children learn to read at different rates just as they learn to do other things at different rates. If children are rushed through the books they will not achieve the enjoyment and understanding necessary.  Books that they find too difficult will soon put them off reading!

 How to support your child's love of reading:

  • Hear your child read every day.
  •  Little and often is more beneficial than a long session once a week.
  •  Think about how long you are reading for - the amount of reading time should not go beyond your child's span of attention.
  •  Pick your timing carefully – it is best not to embark on a reading session when your child is tired.

 Enjoy reading with your child and help them become lifelong readers.


Reading Overview - Phonics Phases - Book Bands – Year Group Expectations


Phonics Phase

Book Band

Year Group Expectations

Phase 1



Phase 2



Phase 3



Phase 3




Phase 3/4


EYFS/Year 1


Phase 4


Year 1

Phase 4/5


Year 1

Phase 5


Year 1

Phase 5


Year 1

Phase 5/6


Year 2

Phase 6


Year 2

Phase 6


Year 2



Year 3



Year 4


Dark blue

Year 5



Year 6

Reading in Early Years

The EYFS framework is structured very differently to the national curriculum as it is organised across seven areas of learning rather than subject areas. The aim of this document is to help subject leaders to understand how the skills taught across EYFS feed into national curriculum subjects. This document demonstrates which statements from the 2020 Development Matters are prerequisite skills for reading within the national curriculum.

The table below outlines the most relevant statements taken from the Early Learning Goals in the EYFS statutory framework and the Development Matters age ranges for Three and Four-Year-Olds and Reception to match the programme of study for reading. The statements for reading are taken from the following areas of learning:

• Communication and Language

• Literacy

• Expressive Arts and Design

• Understanding the World

Follow this link to find reading book recommendations for children of all ages