Bloomsbury have published a spine of guided reading books perfect for ages 6 and up. Using familiar colours and age ranges, these books feature a range of titles, diverse characters and all come with notes prepared by the CLPE, the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education.
“Reading Zone” pages at the back of each book feature quizzes, asks opinions, provides a storytelling toolkit and a get creative page as well as some reading tips. These allow the reader time to reflect independently, provides some ideas for expanding on the book and offers suggestions for further research and art links. Great for school and home use.
Written and Illustrated by familiar names in publishing, these are a fantastic new resource for schools. I thoroughly enjoyed exploring these titles and will share them come September to get the opinions of KS2 students. They offer the reluctant reader better options and the diversity reflected in the titles and characters will appeal to a wide audience of reader.
Lime, Ages 6-7, (Each has 48-64 pages)
Detective Dan by Vivian French is a fun mystery story. Dan’s lunchbox gets pushed off the shelf everyday and Dan, along with friend Billy, need to follow the clues to find the culprit. Harry’s House of Invention by Rachel Anderson features a clever inventor who needs to think differently when he breaks his arm. Luckily Mum is on hand to help out. The Boy in the Jam Jar by Joyce Dunbar is an insightful look into a child’s perspective on hearing loss and feeling as though they are in a jar. The Story Thief by Andrew Fusek Peters is a twist on the legend of Anansi. In this tale, he must release the stories by beating challenges set by Nyame, the sky god.
Brown, Ages 7-8 (48-96 pages each)
The Thing in the Basement by Michaela Morgan is about making a discovery in the basement of the school, something dangerous. Can Scott figure it out? The Queen’s Token by Pamela Oldfield goes back to the time of King Henry VIII, and Hal looking to be a stable boy in the kings household. Hal must face up to the king! The Path of Finn McCool by Sally Prue is the legend of how Finn’s wife Oona must save the giant from a battle with a giant from Scotland. The Barber’s Clever Wife by Marinder Dhami is a legend told brilliantly of how a wife outwits a band of thieves time and time again. Pandora’s Box by Rose Impey is the tale we know of the forbidden box and the wife tempted to peek inside. On the Ghost Trail by Chris Powling is a scary story about walking through the graveyard at midnight. My Other Life by Polly Ho-Yen features Mae who sees a black hole while in hospital. It leads her to an alternate life where she doesn’t have asthma. Will she choose this life or the one she is used to? Granny Ting Ting by Patrice Lawrence is set in Trinidad and sees Shayla competing with her cousin Michael from London. Who will be defeated? Finding Fizz by Jenny Alexander finds Carly being ousted by her friends. Finding a stray dog changes her perspective and she finds herself happier than ever.
Grey, Ages 8-9 (48-96 pages each)
My Friend the Alien by Zanib Mian is a funny book about an alien learning about human emotions through his friend Jibreel. Both feel like outsiders and help each other to feel better. Shock Forest by Margaret Mahy features five short stories of a magical nature, from wizards to mermaids and unknown endings. Taliesin by Maggie Pearson is a legend about Taliesin, the child with the power to transform the lives of those he meets. Sometimes for the better, but not always.
Dark Blue, Ages 9-10, (96 pages each)
MacBeth, Retold by Tony Bradman is a retelling of Shakespeare’s MacBeth. Maintaining its spooky nature this is a great introduction to the infamous story. Stoneywish and Other Chilling Stories by Joan Aiken, is a set of four tales sure to spook even the bravest reader.
Dark Red, Ages 10-11, (96 pages each)
Sky Ship by Geraldine McCaughrean is a collection of five short stories set to take you on adventures to other times and places. To Liberty, the adventures of Thomas-Alexandre Dumas by Catherine Johnson is the incredible story of the fight for liberty from slavery and the liberty of France.