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By Oxford Owl, posted on 2nd June 2020

How reading programmes can help junior readers

When your child has mastered decoding they normally become ‘free readers’, meaning they choose books freely without the structure of reading levels. Children should always be encouraged to read whatever appeals to them – but sometimes structure can help as well.

During the Covid-19 crisis, you may well feel the need to see how your child’s reading is progressing more clearly. Oxford Levels can help with this.

‘Oxford Levels’ is a finely graded levelling system that levels books from learning first words all the way up to the end of Year 6 and beyond. It ensures that every book your child reads has just the right balance of challenge and support to keep them progressing while still feeling confident.

Find out more about what each level means and how each level progresses from one to another:

Oxford Levels explained

For each of the 21 Oxford Levels you will find:

  • A description of the suggested skill level divided into word reading and comprehension.
  • A description of the features of books at this level.
  • Two annotated spreads from real books at each level, highlighting important features.

Download the guidance >

If you don’t know what reading level your child is on, you could use the example texts in the guidance to help you and your child decide.

Once you’ve decided what level is appropriate for your child, they should read several books at that level until they are reading confidently with good comprehension before they move to the next one. You can use the notes inside the book covers to test your child’s comprehension skills.

For advice on keeping reading in KS2 fun while still following a reading scheme, read our Developing reading skills as your child gets older blog post.

Junior reading series from Oxford University Press

In our free eBook library, you will find examples of Oxford’s leading junior reading series. All books are expertly levelled to provide steady progression, and content is always carefully handled to ensure age-appropriateness.

The TreeTops series is a continuation of Oxford Reading Tree for older readers. It contains several series within it:

  • TreeTops Greatest Stories: Retellings of classic stories to introduce children to our literary heritage, hand-picked by series editor Michael Morpurgo. Browse on Amazon >
  • TreeTops InFact: Lively non-fiction which links to school curriculum subjects, series-edited by TV science presenter Greg Foot. Browse on Amazon >
  • TreeTops Chucklers: Books to make your children laugh, edited by author of The 100-mile-an-Hour Dog and My Brother’s Famous Bottom, Jeremy Strong.  Browse on Amazon >
  • TreeTops Reflect: Thought-provoking books to help your child reflect on the world around them and empathise with others. Browse on Amazon >

Project X also continues for older readers and contains series that can grab your junior child’s attention:

  • Alien Adventures: Will appeal to children who like adventure stories and science fiction. Browse on Amazon >
  • Graphic Texts: Perfect for those who like to read comics and contains comic strip versions of classic literature. Browse on Amazon >

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