When I am advising teachers about different reading schemes I am noticing more and more that they are opting for a mixed scheme approach. They may still have a main scheme that forms the backbone of their reading strategy but they are looking for variety of books at the same book band levels to supplement this. It certainly makes for a much more appealing selection and is a brilliant way to broaden children’s reading and to encourage reading development and engagement.
Some schools are picking and choosing from the large range of Oxford Reading Tree schemes while others are choosing different schemes from a range of different publishers; but all are looking for books that will excite their readers and I often hear comments like ‘Year 2 will just love these’ or ‘Year 1 love their non-fiction so we are looking for some more at bands Blue and Green’.
This approach has been so popular we now make off the shelf mixed scheme boxes for each book band, from Lilac to Lime because it is book bands that make this mix and match approach possible. The traditional problems with reading schemes have been their homogeny and obscure levelling, that does not correspond to any books outside of that scheme, and ties you in. Now children can enjoy a huge variety of books, from all sorts of schemes, at the right reading level, so it is well worth exploring what is out there because variety is the spice of life and makes reading tasty.