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Junior School

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Our reading scheme is Collins Big Cat. This is an award winning scheme made up of real books written by real authors.  Reading books are graded by difficulty by reading levels known as Book Bands.  Each Book Band has its own colour and this is a nationally recognised scheme. Big Cat has:


  •   Over 500 books for 3-11 year olds
  • Half of the books in each band are non-fiction. They cover science, geography, history and much more
  • Plus there are poetry books, plays and traditional tales.
  • Struggling readers are supported with Progress books and top readers challenged with Pearl
  •  Comprehension and reader response activities are included in every book to get     children really thinking


The books vary in a number of ways, including content, layout, size, vocabulary and length, to give the children a rich diet of literature.  The difference between each colour band is very gradual, so that children do not experience great difficulty moving up through the scheme.


Progress through the bands is not automatic and it is important to ensure that children working in the earlier bands have secure understanding so that they remain in control of the text and motivated as they move on to more challenging texts. Obviously 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 rough 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 can become bored. If it is 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.


A word of caution! You will be doing your child no favours if you rush them through books. It is not a race, it is a journey! Children learn at different rates just as they learn to walk, dress themselves etc. at different rates. Reading must not be treated as a competition. 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! On average your, child should complete one Big Cat book a week, but for the longer more complex Big Cat books it may take them up to two weeks. Please sign and comment in your child's reading record to let us know that you have heard your child read.


Things to Remember

  • Do hear your child read every day if possible.
  • 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 shouldn’t exceed your child’s span of attention.
  • Pick your timing carefully – it’s best not to embark on a reading session when your child is tired.
  • Every child is an individual - try not to compare your child’s progress with other children or with brothers and sisters.


In addition, children select a library book from the fiction library organised to correspond in difficulty to their Big Cat reading book.  These are to be read at home and are for pleasure, allowing your child to develop reading stamina and understanding.  


Once children complete the reading scheme, they move on to ‘free’ reading when they are given suggested reading lists and allowed to choose from the ‘free’ reading selection in the library.  At this stage the emphasis is on range and quality of response.