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Key Stage 1

Reading Key Stage 1


Children in KS1 are expected to move from yellow book band at the beginning of Year 1 to blue, then green, orange, turquoise, purple, gold, finally reaching white book band by the end of Year 2. This, however, represents an ‘average’ picture of a child’s progress. As we know, no individual child is ‘average’ so no individual child makes smooth progress precisely in this way. Children tend to learn in fits and starts – periods of growth followed by periods of consolidation when their progress seems to halt for a while. The periods where you don’t see rapid progress may be worrying but they are important as your child develops confidence in using and applying newly acquired skills. If you are ever worried about your child’s progress, please talk to their teacher.


Books ranging from yellow level up to white include an increasing number of words and pages to encourage reading stamina. Sentences are longer and more complex and contain more challenging vocabulary.  The story lines are also more complex and story features such as plot, character and setting are developed in more detail. Children are increasingly encouraged to ‘read between the lines’ and recognise layers of meaning in a story. In non-fiction books there is increased challenge in the layout of information.


Here are some tips on reading books and stories together...

  • Try to listen to your child regularly. Ten minutes a day is much better than a longer session once a week.
  • Find a quiet place to share books where you can be comfortable.
  • Encourage them to read widely – library, recipes, comics, newspapers, signs, captions etc.
  • Talk about books – share your own excitement about books and stories. Let them see you reading.
  • Don’t go straight to the story. Look at the cover, blurb and the pictures - talk to your child and together try to guess what might happen in the book.
  • Point to pictures and relate them to something your child knows.
  • Sometimes you can, if you have an opportunity to read the story in advance, tell your child a brief summary of what happens in the book. This will help to activate prior knowledge and support your child’s attempts to solve unfamiliar words.
  • Read to them so they learn from you. They will learn a great deal from hearing an experienced reader read aloud.
  • Ask questions about the plot, characters, beginnings/endings & what they liked/disliked and why.
  • Find out information together.
  • Encourage your child to notice unfamiliar words as they come up and talk about what they mean.
  • Don’t let your child struggle with trying to sound out words that are not phonetically decodable, for example 'tricky words' such as 'come' and 'who' which cannot be sounded out as g-o and w-h-o.
  • If you have an opportunity to read the book before, identify words and/or phrases that may be tricky. Then talk to the child about what they mean.
  • Encourage your child to rehearse any unfamiliar phrases before they read the book (e.g. “It’s a new toy,” said Gemma, “my grandma gave it to me for Christmas.”)
  • If your child is able to sound out an unfamiliar word, ask them to re-read that sentence. Often children are so busy figuring out a word they lose the meaning of what they've just read.
  • It’s Ok to read a book more than once. On the second or third reading, encourage your child to read with more pace and expression.
  • Most importantly - make reading fun!
  • Please remember to fill in the school reading record book each time you hear your child read. Please let you child’s teacher know if they struggled with certain words or found the book too difficult.


Ask questions….

Where/when does the story take place?

Who was the character that…?

What is happening at this point/in this part of the story?

Find one/two things that the main character did in this part of the story.

Can you retell the story?

Can you tell me about what sort of character they are from the things they did/said?

Which is the most interesting/exciting/funniest/scariest part of the book? Why?

Which part of this book did you like best/least? Why?

In this part of the story, how do you think the character feels? How can you tell?

What do you think would have happened if…?

What do you think is going to happen next? Why do you think this?

How has the author used words/phrases to make this character funny/sad/adventurous/clever/frightening/excitable?

Why is … a good title for this story/book/chapter/play?

Did you enjoy reading the story/play/poem or not? Explain your answer by referring to the characters, events and how it made you feel.

How did the story make you feel? Why did it make you feel like this?

Do you know any more stories like this? Tell me why they are alike.

Do you know another story with similar characters in? Tell me how they are similar.

What do you think this story is trying to tell us?


Non-Fiction Books

Tell me two things you found out that you didn’t know before.

What does this part of the text tell us about ….?

Which part of the text tells us about …?

Why are some words in bold?

How does this text layout help the reader?

How does (a diagram/picture/caption) help you to understand the information of this/these pages?