We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more
Select Page

Reading schemes, Levels, and Stages

Learn about reading schemes (also known as reading programmes), Oxford Levels, and Stages, and find out how they’re used to help your child progress with reading at school.

What are reading schemes?

A reading scheme is a series of books that have been carefully written to help children learn to read. When your child is learning to read, it’s important to give them books that are at the right level of challenge.

Books that are too hard can be frustrating – and can risk putting a child off reading. Books that are very easy can sometimes be fun, but they’re not the best way to improve reading skills.

Find out more on the blog: What are reading schemes and why do they matter?

What are Oxford Levels and Book Bands?

In UK schools, Book Bands are used across different reading schemes to indicate the reading level of each book. You will see our Oxford Levels alongside the Book Band colours on the back of each Oxford Reading Tree book.

As children need a different type of support at home, we also have Read with Oxford Stages which follow the same order of progression as Oxford Levels. Take a look at how Levels, Book Bands, and Stages relate to each other:

Age 4–5 (Reception)
Oxford Level 1 | Book Band Lilac
Oxford Level 1+ | Book Band Pink
Oxford Level 2 | Book Band Red
Oxford Level 3 | Book Band Yellow
Read with Oxford Stage 2

Age 5–6 (Year 1)
Oxford Level 4 | Book Band Light blue
Oxford Level 5 | Book Band Green
Oxford Level 6 | Book Band Orange
Oxford Level 3 | Book Band Yellow
Read with Oxford Stage 3 & 4

Age 6–7 (Year 2)
Oxford Level 7 | Book Band Turquoise
Oxford Level 8 | Book Band Purple
Oxford Level 9 | Book Band Gold
Oxford Level 10 | Book Band White
Oxford Level 11 | Book Band Lime
Read with Oxford Stage 4, 5, & 6

Oxford Levels and Book Bands

Download our full table of Oxford Levels and Book Bands used at primary school. Find out which Level is best suited to your child, and how Levels 1–20 relate to Book Bands.

This information is intended as a guide only.

Download the table >

How do I find the right reading level for my child?

Every child learns to read at a different pace, so it’s important to give them books at the right level to support their progress. Your child may be bringing books home from school that have levels or colour bands on them, or you can ask your child’s teacher which level your child is reading at school.

Alternatively, you can use this simple test from Read with Oxford to find the right Oxford Level (used in schools) or Read with Oxford Stage (used at home) for your child.

Learning to read at school

Many primary schools in the UK use either Oxford Reading Tree or Read Write Inc. Phonics to teach children to read. You can find out more about both of these reading schemes by following the links below.

Oxford Reading Tree

Used to teach over 30 million children around the world to read, and love to read.

Read Write Inc. Phonics

A rigorous step-by-step programme for teaching phonics.


How to help at home

Copyright Oxford University Press 2020