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Understanding Reading Levels

The information on this page is provided to help parents understand how children's reading is assessed.

What is the expected reading level of an "average" child?

  • By the end of Year 2, the reading of an "average" child is expected to be a secure level 2
  • By the end of Year 4, the reading of an "average" child is expected to be a secure level 3
  • By the end of Year 6, the reading of an "average" child is expected to be a secure level 4

Since there is a wide range of learning within each reading level, the levels are sub-divided into "low", "secure" and "high". Thus a child who starts the year with a reading level of "low level 3", for example, should progress to a "high level 3" by the end of the year.

When is reading assessed?

The school uses assessing pupils progress (APP) reading materials and ‘Somerset reading’ materials to track progress and plan next steps in learning. Teachers assess children's reading on a daily basis, using guided reading sessions, written comprehension work and other work in class to gather information.
Each half term, teachers gather information on each child's reading and perform a more formal assessment.
Towards the end of the summer term, children may also complete "optional SATs" tests - this provides additional information to support teacher assessment and also gives the children experience of "proper tests".
Year 2 children and Year 6 children complete more formal Year 2 and Year 6 SATs tests at the end of the year.

How is the assessment information used to help develop reading?

Information gathered by marking children's work and from asking questions in class is used to support and challenge progress in the next reading session or reading comprehension lesson.

What skills does a "secure level 2" reader show?

The documents below give an outline of reading skills at different levels. 

How does reading at home help my child?

We encourage all children to read regularly at home. Regular time spent reading to an adult plays an invaluable role in helping children to become fluent, confident readers. Being able to read well and understand the text is the most important core skill a child can acquire, since it underpins all learning at school.

From the earliest age, children gain great enjoyment out of sitting with mum or dad, granny or granddad, looking at the pictures as a well-known story is shared… often over and over again! Older children, who are more fluent in reading, can develop their appreciation of authors and texts by talking about the book character, plot or underlying message.

Please do talk to your class teacher, if you would like any further information on the phonic or reading strategies used in school, or if you would like further information on how you can help your child develop these crucial skills.