Rainbow Readers

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As we teach our pupils to read, we have in our minds that we are aiming for them to be able to read
text with accuracy, fluency, pace and understanding.

Phonics is vital. Knowing how the alphabetic code works is fundamental to decoding and ‘lifting the
words from the page’. It is only once we have decoded the written words that we can hope to
understand the meaning of the text.

We must be mindful though of a bigger picture of reading and in our phonics lessons, think about
how we can pull in all the other aspects that contribute to becoming a ‘good reader’.

The Rainbow Reader Packs aim to provide comprehensive sets of structured, teacher/TA led
resources that work on all aspects of reading. Each of the seven available packs contain a set of
teaching resources that explore the aspects of reading described in Scarborough’s Reading Rope
(2001 & 2010). The Reading Rope provides a model of reading that has stood the test of time and
was developed using the evidence of academic research often referred to as ‘The Science of

The Rope considers two main components to skilled reading: decoding the printed word (English
being considered to be based on an alphabetic code of how sounds correspond to letters) and
language comprehension (the child’s ability to understand spoken language). It further separates
these into strands that contribute to each component, as shown in the infographic.

Please note that this resource is to be used alongside a

systematic, synthetic phonics programme and is not a substitute

for access to structured phonics instruction.

The activities in each pack are based around a decodable book, the Rainbow Reader that matches to one of Sets 1-7 of sounds and letters that pupils learn about in Book 1 of the Phonics for Pupils with Special Educational Needs programme. The Rainbow Reader packs are compatible with many other phonics programmes that use the same Sets 1-7 teaching sequence of sounds. Each Rainbow Reader Pack covers the following aspects of becoming a skilled reader:

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Intro Pack

Start your Rainbow Reader journey with Pat, the first of the decodable books.​ Includes interactive resources and a full set of instructions. If you enjoy the pack you can buy the rest of them minus the cost of the taster!


Each Rainbow Readers Pack has activities that cover the following aspects of becoming a skilled reader:

  • decoding

  • phonemic awareness

  • automaticity

  • oral language structure

  • written language structure

  • verbal reasoning and comprehension

  • vocabulary

  • background/subject knowledge

  • literacy knowledge 

  • fluency

Full Package

Dive into the Rainbow Readers with the full package including all 7 books. Explore the background of the stories with a factfile and create your own story with the big scene. Start with the activity that most suits your pupils and expand their reading ability following Scarborough's reading rope.

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