Inspiring KS1 reading books

Reading is a critical skill that is essential for academic success, as it allows children to access a wide range of information and ideas. Reading books at the KS1 level are specifically designed to be suitable for young learners and to help them develop the skills they need to become confident and competent readers. By providing learners with access to high-quality reading materials, schools can help to ensure that they have the tools they need to succeed in their education and in life.

  1. How do children learn to read?
  2. How can you use picture cues to support emerging readers?
  3. What is phonemic awareness?
  4. How can context help children learn to read?
  5. Why is reading to children important?
  6. What does reading do for young children?
  7. What type of books inspire younger readers?
  8. How do you make books look inviting to children?
  9. How do you make your library inspiring for KS1 readers?

How do children learn to read?

Learning to read is a complicated but necessary process that involves several steps. A huge amount of children’s ability and motivation to read begins in the home and before they’ve even entered your classroom. However, there’s still some important foundations that need to be built in the early Key Stages to continue to develop a lifelong love of reading.

Children typically learn to read by being taught the sounds that letters make and how to blend those sounds together to form words. This process is called phonemic awareness. Children are also taught how to recognize the common sight words that don’t follow the rules of phonics. As they learn to read, children also develop their vocabulary and comprehension skills by being read to and by reading books at their own level. This helps them to understand the stories and information they are reading.

How can you use picture cues to support emerging readers?

Picture cues can be used in a few different ways when learning to read. One way is to use picture clues to help children understand the meaning of words they are reading. For example, if a child is reading a sentence that includes the word “dog,” a picture of a dog could be shown to help the child understand the meaning of the word.

Another way to use picture cues is to help children learn new vocabulary words. For example, if a child is learning about different types of animals, pictures of each animal could be shown along with the word to help the child learn the vocabulary.

Picture cues can also be used to help children understand the sequence of events in a story. For example, if a child is reading a story about a girl going to the park, pictures could be shown in the order the events happen in the story to help the child understand the sequence of events.

Overall, using picture cues can help children make connections between the words they are reading and the meaning of those words, as well as help them understand the sequence of events in a story.

What is phonemic awareness?

Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate the individual sounds (phonemes) in spoken words. It is a key component of reading and spelling development and is the foundation of phonics instruction.

Phonemic awareness involves being able to recognize and manipulate the sounds in words, such as blending individual sounds together to form words, segmenting words into their individual sounds, and identifying the beginning, middle, and ending sounds in words.

Developing phonemic awareness is important for children because it helps them learn the connection between the sounds in spoken words and the letters that represent those sounds in written words. This understanding is necessary for children to be able to read and spell words accurately.

How can context help children learn to read?

Context plays a crucial role in learning to read because it helps children understand the meaning of words and sentences. When reading, children use the context of the sentence to help them figure out the meaning of words they may not be familiar with or that don’t follow the rules of phonics.

For example, if a child is reading a sentence that includes the word “house,” they may not know the meaning of the word based on the individual sounds of the letters. However, if the sentence is “The boy went into the house,” the context of the sentence helps the child understand that a “house” is a building where people live.

In addition, context helps children understand the meaning of sentences and the relationships between the words in a sentence. This helps them to comprehend the information they are reading and make connections to their own experiences and knowledge. Overall, context is an important tool for children to use as they learn to read and understand written language.

Why is reading to children important?

Reading to children is an important way to motivate them to read because it exposes them to the joys of reading and the endless possibilities that books can offer. When children are read to at a young age, they are introduced to the sounds and rhythms of language, which can help to develop their language skills and prepare them to read on their own. Additionally, being read to by a parent or other adult can be a bonding experience for children, which can help to create a positive association with reading. As children grow older and gain more proficiency in reading, they may be motivated to read on their own in order to continue enjoying the stories and experiences that books offer.

What does reading do for young children?

Reading to and with young children can have many benefits. Some of the key ways in which reading can benefit young children include:

  • Developing language skills: Reading to and with young children can help to develop their language skills by exposing them to a wide range of words and sentence structures.
  • Building vocabulary: Reading to young children can also help to expand their vocabulary by introducing them to new words and concepts.
  • Improving concentration and focus: Reading requires concentration and focus, and regular reading can help young children to develop these skills.
  • Stimulating the imagination: Reading can also stimulate the imagination by introducing young children to new ideas and worlds.
  • Promoting a love of learning: Reading can be a fun and enjoyable activity, and introducing young children to the joys of reading can help to foster a love of learning that will serve them well throughout their lives.

Overall, reading is an important activity for young children, and it can have a wide range of benefits that will help them to develop and grow.

What type of books inspire younger readers?

There are many types of books that can inspire younger readers, including adventure stories, mysteries, and fantasy stories. Picture books, chapter books, and middle grade novels can all be great choices for inspiring younger readers. Some specific examples of books that may inspire younger readers include The Adventures of Tintin, The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Harry Potter series. Ultimately, the books that will inspire a particular younger reader will depend on their individual interests and preferences.

How do you make books look inviting to children?

There are many ways to make books look inviting to children, including:

  • Choose books with colourful and engaging covers: Children are often drawn to books with bright, eye-catching covers, so choosing books with covers that are visually appealing can help to make them look more inviting.
  • Organize the books in an attractive and accessible way: Children are more likely to pick up and read books that are easy to find and access. Consider organizing the books by age group, genre, or topic to make them easy for children to browse and find the books that interest them.
  • Encourage children to read: One of the best ways to make books look inviting to children is to show them that reading is a fun and enjoyable activity. Try reading to children and sharing your own enthusiasm for books to help them see the value and enjoyment of reading.
  • Display the books prominently: Finally, make sure to display the books prominently, in a location where children can easily see them and access them. This can help to make the books more visible and attractive to children, and encourage them to pick them up and read.

How do you make your library inspiring for KS1 readers?

Curating a library or bookshelf with engaging KS1 reading books can be quite a task. Throughout KS1, your learners are emerging readers and beginning to understand what they enjoy and more importantly what they don’t enjoy. This is quite possibly the period of a child’s education where they make the most visible leaps in progress. At this stage, they’re still learning to segment words with phonics, recognise words by sight, and differentiate homonyms. Many will start this period by reading picture books.

This is by no means an exclusive list but it’s a good starter pack.

  1. Oof Makes an Ouch! By Duncan Beedle – brilliant for reluctant readers, mixed groups and performing to a class as there are lots of ideas for story writing and PSHE.
  2. The Pocket Chaotic by Ziggy Hanaor and Daniel Gray-Barnett – a charming book about a joey who lives in his mother’s pocket. Nice to share with KS1 classes (especially at the start of the new school year).
  3. The Bad-tempered Ladybird by Eric Carle – a helpful resource for telling the time on analogue clock.
  4. A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond – a classic tale for children that are starting to read independently.
  5. Inside The Villains by Clotilde Perrin – a great story as inspiration for writing and creating monstrous characters.
  6. Hattie and Olaf by Frida Nilssen – a lovely and fun story to introduce to chapter books. 
  7. Salty Dogs by Matty long – for all things ‘shiver-me-timbers’ this is an enthralling pirate story.
  8. Don’t Look In This Book by Samuel Langley Swain – lovely whole class story and great to encourage reading aloud.
  9. Gorilla by Anthony Browne – a classic tale that sparks imaginative ideas for creative writing.
  10. Dr Xargle’s Book of Earthlets by Jeanne Willis– this story will have you all in fits of giggles when hearing an alien’s point of view on humans.
  11. I Can Only Draw Worms by Will Mabbitt – a genuinely hilarious tale that makes learners believe they can create anything without being an expert.
  12. Life is Magic by Meg McLaren – a delightful tale about working together.
  13. Nibbles the Book Monster by Emma Yarlett – sure hit with all-aged readers that’s been fantastically produced and makes for an exciting reading experience.
  14. Rhinos Don’t Eat Pancakes by Anna Kemp – lovely, shared read with charming pictures and a hilarious story of a very hungry (and friendly) rhinoceros.
  15. Supertato by Sue Hendra and Paul linnet – a delightfully imaginative book that is brilliant at sparking curiosity.
  16. The Bumble Bear by Nadia Sireen – Norman is a bear that loves honey. Amusing and colourful illustrations supported with gentle humour are great to teach about loyalty and friendship.
  17. The Crocodile Who Didn’t Like Water by Gemma Mirano – a unique and uplifting story about family, acceptance, and unconditional love.
  18. The Last Wolf by Mini Grey – a powerful re-imagination of the class Little Red Riding Hood.
  19. Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl – The story follows Mr. Fox, a clever and cunning fox who outwits his nemeses, the farmers Boggis, Bunce, and Bean, to provide food for his family.
  20. Judy Moody Was in a Mood by Megan McDonald – Judy is in a mood whatever the occasion and is a very entertaining character for younger audiences to laugh at and with.
  21. The fairy rebel by Lynne Reid Banks – The Fairy Queen strictly forbids fairies from using their magic power on humans. But after Tiki accidentally meets Jan, a woman who is desperate for a baby daughter, she finds it impossible to resist fulfilling her wish.
  22. Fluffy Bunnies 2: The Schnoz of Doom by Andrea Beaty – When film-loving twins Joules and Kevin Rockman left their summer camp, they thought their days of fighting evil bunnies from outer space were over.
  23. We’re All Wonders by R. J. Palacio – This story is about Auggie, who stands out because he doesn’t look like an ordinary kid even though he does all of the same things other kids do.
  24. Wumbers by Amy Krouse Rosenthal – What do you get when you combine a word and a number? A wumber!
  25. Iggy Peck and the Mysterious Mansion by Andrea Beaty – Ada’s Aunt Bernice inherits a deserted mansion which is reputed to be haunted. The house used to belong to the town’s ice-cream mogul Herbert Sherbert and is filled with countless rooms from all his favourite architectural periods.
  26. Amelia Fang and the Trouble With Toads by Laura Ellen Anderson – When Amelia Fang’s baby brother, Vincent, accidentally enters a mysterious land – the place where all squished toads go – Amelia has to embark on a daring adventure to rescue him. 
  27. Mirror-Belle and the Sea Monsters Cave by Julia Donaldson – Magically mischievous Mirror-Belle is back and ready to sweep Ellen off on more exciting and hilarious picture book.
  28. The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J. K. Rowling – The story is about three brothers who, while traveling together, reach a treacherous river.
  29. Winter Magic by Abi Elphinstone – A beautiful and classic anthology of frosty, magical short stories.

Hopefully, these KS1 reading books will get your learners eager to begin the habit of a lifetime! For more research on the impact and outcomes of reading at KS1, check out this article.

For more recommendations based on cohort and age, check out other lists similar to this one

Would you like to give your learners access to all of these books, plus thousands more? Find them on Reading Hub!

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Co-founder Hannah Rix
Written by Co-founder, Hannah Rix

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