Beautiful Books: Banded and Ready to Read

By Dawn Morris: Education Consultant for Just Imagine

For many years schools have sought ways to band Key Stage One books for progression and appropriate challenge. Many schemes support schools in doing this by providing pre-banded books. At Just Imagine, we want to offer schools the highest quality books in a banded form that is both recognised and recommended. We work to seek out books that will engage and excite readers and give teachers a pre-banded set that they can rely on, saving them time and energy to boot!

‘Which Book and Why’ (IOE) provides not only a wealth of information about guiding readers in KS1, but also an effective set of criteria to band books in a progressive way. This starts from the earliest stages right up to the beginnings of competent fluency in chapter books and non-fiction texts. The KS1 bands flow from pink, which gives early readers a chance to experience simple repetitive texts and begin to use their growing phonic knowledge and skills, all the way up to lime, which gives established readers a chance to flex their reading muscles on a range of different vocabulary, text and sentence styles and in-depth characters and content.

For Pink and Red packs, we select the highest quality books from schemes such as inFact and Traditional Tales from OUP and Phonics Progress from Collins BigCat. Thereafter we mix high quality scheme selections with books from a variety of publishers that satisfy IOE the criteria. We also offer banded bookpacks from Brown to Dark Red suitable for KS2 classrooms. These selections include a variety of texts that support reading development from year 3 to year 6.

In addition to provided curated packs to support your bookband collection, Just Imagine also run courses to equip teachers with the skills to band titles to ensure collections can be maintain and refreshed. See here for more information and to book your place.

As an experienced and established KS1 teacher I love being able to provide my children with the right challenge at the right time. I also love getting my hands on beautiful books that will create the best reading opportunities, hence a win-win situation in being part of the KS1 book banding team at Just Imagine!

The Bookbanding team at Just Imagine includes two practising senior KS1 teachers, our Libraries adviser, Caroline Bradley and our Director Nikki Gamble, who is KS2 reading advisor and series consultant for Oxford University Press and content creator for the Oxford School Improvement and Oxford Owl websites. She is also an advisor for Egmont’s Reading Ladder.

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Dawn is involved in Just Imagine’s book banding panel. She has worked in Primary Education for 18 years. After teaching across Early Years, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 she worked as a Literacy Consultant for Essex Local Authority for 7 years and then returned to the classroom, combining her school role with a leading teacher training provider as the English tutor for a ‘School Centred Initial Teacher Training’ course in Essex. Dawn says, ‘Reading is my first love and being able to share this with children, teachers and trainee teachers is a real privilege. Beautiful, exciting and engaging texts never fail to excite me and seeing that reflected in others is why I love what I do!’