Parents and teachers alike, we all want to ensure our kids have the best reading material. But let’s face it, the quality of children’s books, especially those used in primary or elementary schools, can be a bit of a mixed bag. Some sparkle with literacy gems, fostering not just reading skills but a thirst for knowledge, while others… well, let’s just say they might not inspire the next generation of bookworms.

Often, primary-level reading books are laser-focused on following a structured reading level protocol, which is important, sure. But are we missing something here? Could there be other factors that play into our little ones’ learning and personal growth? Let’s dive in.

Primary school reading books

Children develop their reading skills by reading more and more challenging texts. Most education systems have some kind of ranking system that describes the reading level of a book.


Reading levels and schemes

Schools adopt a tiered reading scheme, assigning books a colour band that relates to a specific reading level. These coloured bands enable parents, teachers and kids quickly identify a book they’ll find easy or challenging to read.

As levels progress, children encounter more complexity in one way or another. This might be more text for every picture, smaller text, bigger words, longer multi-clause sentences, longer stories, more complex sentence structures and increasingly difficult nouns, verb and adjectives. There are many variables!


Guided reading for kids

If children are reading often and pushing their abilities, with the right support, they will improve their skills. This is why the “guided” part of guided reading is so important in the early stages and it’s no surprise that children who spend more time reading with their parents tend to have higher IQs as well as reading ability. So it begs the question, should we rely so heavily on the colour-coded, levelled reading books we’re all so used to? Could our children be learning more from books with more meaning than books designed to help them read better?

The best primary reading books: what to look for

When we were researching and developing the Clever Tykes series, we spoke to parents and teachers who used reading books on a daily basis for their insights on on what makes a great book.

Banded reading systems allow us to instantly assess the difficulty of a reading book and they provide a clear route of reading progression for children. Where parents and teachers tend to benefit most from these books is using them as a marker of a child’s ability before using common sense to select appropriate books and stories for them.

So what about this:

With so much to fit into the curriculum, doesn’t it make sense to utilise reading books to develop other skills?

Absolutely! Just like using currency symbols and problems in maths lessons to improve financial literacy, we could be teaching important lessons whilst improving a child’s reading skills. An important element of guided reading is asking questions to test comprehension and develop a deeper understanding of the story so it makes perfect sense.

Reading books for seven, eight and nine year olds

Both from a literacy and personal learning perspective, the Clever Tykes books were designed for children around eight years of age. Of course, reading levels very wildly so our broader age bracket is six to nine, but reading levels and standards aren’t everything (otherwise we’d all still be reading colour-coded books!).

There’s a reason all children in this age bracket should read the Clever Tykes books.

At this age, children become very aware of the world around them and begin to form ideas about their future. We know the late primary years are a person’s formative years; the time at which they’re learning at the fastest rate in their entire lifetime. Now is when we can instil those all-important life skills and attitudes to nurture positive and confident humans.


primary school reading books


In fact, it is through guided reading that teachers first began using the Clever Tykes books to introduce enterprise to their children. Teachers were able to discuss and explore topics covered in the stories to test comprehension and understanding of the text and key concepts. Check out other ways primary schools can introduce enterprise into their teaching.

Of course, you can read more about our very own reading books, Walk-it Willow, Code-it Cody, Change-it Cho and Write-it Ryan on their respective pages!