Ashwicken C of E Primary School

Ashwicken CE Primary School Caring for Each Other
and Caring for Our World

Recommended Reading for Year 1

Dear Parents/Carers,

Reading is an important part of everyday life. The more our children read, the better readers they will be and the better writers they will become.

Read a selection of books from the recommended book list attached:

Parents and family members play an important role in building successful readers. Hearing your child read is vital to your child retaining and building on the skills he or she has learned in school. But most importantly, this is a time for children to engage their imaginations, find amusement in books, and to learn to love reading. We ask that your child read for at least 15 minutes a day. Books can be of any genre or on any subject that is of interest to your child.


Here are some quick tips to encourage your child’s love for reading.

  • READ! READ! READ! Make reading important. Be a role-model for reading. Let your child see you reading throughout the day and use daily routines as reading opportunities. Cooking, reading TV listings, looking for information on-line, reading directions, or following a map all provide authentic reading experiences.
  • Give your child the power of choice. Having reading materials available, such as: books, magazines, comics, etc… is key to helping children love to read, and the reading materials they choose themselves are best. Help your child find texts that appeal to his or her interests, yet are age appropriate and ‘just right’ in difficulty.
  • Find opportunities to read aloud to your child. Read your favourite childhood book aloud, read signs while driving in the car, read at stores, and read while you’re on holiday!
  • Take frequent trips to the library.
  • Read a great story over and over again to help your child with fluency and reading with expression.
  • Talk it up. Talking about books during and after reading helps improve comprehension. Encourage your child to share their ideas and opinions by asking open-ended questions. Talk about what you read to let them know that reading is an important part of your life. Tell them why you liked a book, what you learned from it, or how it helped you— soon they might start doing the same.

We hope you and your family will read many stories and reap all of the wonderful benefits that reading has to offer!

I look forward to hearing all about the exciting books you have read.

Happy reading!


The following information is provided on the BooksForTopics website where you will also find a variety of other booklists and links for purchasing book. 

BooksForTopics’ recommended reading list

What kind of books should children in Year 1 be reading?

Year 1 is a delightful year group with which to share books and at the moment there is a brilliant range of engaging books available for this age. Often at the ages of 5 and 6, children are learning to read short texts independently, while still relying on strong visual elements. Look for books with extra visual details to spot in the illustrations, like the super-entertaining Dogs in Disguise or Simon Bartram’s much-loved space story Man on the Moon, which invites the reader to spot the secret aliens hiding among the pages.

The books on this list are not intended to replace school reading schemes, which are designed specifically for the teaching of phonics and reading. Instead, the books on this list have been selected with reading for pleasure in mind, whether with an adult or independently. Make sure you have to hand a plentiful supply of Y1 picturebooks that are great for reading aloud, like That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown (which lends itself so well to ‘doing the voices’) and Michelle Robinson’s super-fun story When Ice Cream Had a Meltdown.  Some books, like Splash Day and Isadora Moon, make for brilliant first independent reads as confidence begins to blossom with reading through this stage.

Many Y1 children treasure storytimes when adults read aloud, and shared reading experiences remain an essential part of language and literacy development both in the classroom and at home. Don’t rush children into having to read the words independently too soon, but savour the joy of reading whole books together. Children at this age often love handling books, and they make a bee-line for texts that offer engaging illustrations, interactive elements or memorable characters. Share the absolute fun of I Can Only Draw Worms together, with its visual humour aplenty, or enjoy the unforgettable adventures of classic characters like Paddington.

Children in Year 1 are increasingly able to identify themes of interest and empathise with characters in familiar settings. Be sure to introduce Year 1 children to books that will make them think more deeply about the world around them, like The Kindest Red  or Dadaji’s Paintbrush.

Many 5- and 6-year-olds begin to be able to sustain attention for longer stories that take place over a number of sittings, making short, illustrated chapter books an appealing option for storytime. Start with shorter chapter books for Year 1 like Rabbit and Bear, which is popular with children looking for warm humour, or classic storytime favourites like The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark.

Which books are best for 5 and 6 year olds?

For this reading list, we’ve carefully selected a balance of different types of books for reading for pleasure in Year 1. Some of the best stories for Year 1 feature larger-than-life characters that will cause a giggle, like the wide-eyed bear in The Bumblebear or the hairy, grizzly, honey-loving father in My Dad is a Grizzly Bear. Animal characters are popular too, with some given delightful personalities like the cast of the Hotel Flamingo books, while others explore the deep connection between children and animals, like Michael Morpurgo’s Dolphin Boy.

Many of the best stories at this age explore true-to-life experiences, like the arrival of a new sibling in Sona Sharma: Very Best Big Sister, life in an urban tower block community in Our Tower or the tricky world of navigating new experiences alone in The Friendship Bench. Others help to develop an understanding of feelings, like the relatable experience of worrying in What If, Pig? or Catherine Rayner’s Arlo the Lion Who Couldn’t Sleep, which explores nighttime anxiety and mindfulness.

Picked out specially for enjoyable storytimes with 5-6 year olds, some of the books on this Year 1 reading list lend themselves especially well to being read out loud. Rhyming books like The Highway Rat or There’s a Rang-Tan in My Bedroom  are great choices. Others offer a quick win for a super-fun storytime full of zany laughter, like Sean Taylor’s whacky picturebook Monster! Hungry! Phone! or the witty humour of Simon Bartram’s Man on the Moon, which is always a big hit in the classroom. We’ve also included some classic stories for Year 1 on the list, such as Anthony’s Browne’s Gorilla and the much-loved skeleton-themed FunnyBones.

Should children in Year 1 be reading chapter books?

In Year 1, some children are ready to read short chapter books. Others take a little longer to have the stamina required for chapter books and will not start reading longer books just yet, and this is perfectly normal within the 5-6 age range too.

Starting with adult-read chapter books at story time is a great way to introduce chapter books to younger children.  For storytime read-alouds or class novels, try Adventuremice, Harry the Poisonous Centipede or Fantastic Mr Fox.

Some more advanced readers in Year 1 will be keen to take on the challenge of reading early chapter books for themselves. To cater for your Year 1 readers of chapter books, look out for books with illustrated pages, a readable font and a relatively short page count. For newly independent readers looking for their first longer read, we recommend Isadora Moon, The Hat Full of Secrets or Molly Rogers to the Rescue.

What are the best non-fiction books for Year 1?

You’ll also find on this list a range of age-appropriate non-fiction for Year 1, from the ocean-themed Professor Astro Cat’s Deep-Sea Voyage, to the inspirational biographies of Great Women Who Saved the Planet, to the beautifully illustrated exploration of frozen worlds in Iceberg.