6yo loves getting her own post, especially when it’s actually addressed to her and not something for her addressed to me that I’ve already opened. I like to encourage reading at home, so this review opportunity was a win win for both of us.
Reading Chest is an online school book lending system, a little bit like a library service by post, but with subscription services instead of free lending.
Set up by a teacher and a Mum to encourage learning to read in children. I was intrigued immediately as 6yo often comes home with the same book from school day after day, even if I have asked her to change it, she “forgets” etc. She also only gets read with on an individual basis with a teacher once every half term. This isn’t enough to gauge her reading level in my opinion, and whilst we read together at home, I can’t tell whether she should be moving up to the next level or not, I can only leave comments in the log book for school to read.
The Reading Chest is aimed at readers from 4-9 years, all the books colour coded into levels according to reading age. They also cover a wide range of book series that are found in many school such as Collins Phonics, Floppys Phonics, Oxford Reading Tree and more.
First things first we created an account and chose our level of subscription. There are three available, Bronze which gives you an initial four books, and you can swap up to two times per month. Silver also gives you four books and allows four swaps per month. Gold provides you with six books initially and you can swap as many times as you wish.
Bronze is £9.95 per month, Silver £12.95 and Gold £15.95 per month. We have been trialling the silver package and have been provided with two months membership for the purpose of this review.
Whilst we couldn’t choose the exact books we would receive, we could decide whether to have both fiction and non fiction, or just one. 6yo decided she would like just fiction, but should she change her mind, I can change this quite easily on the website for the next book selection.
I also chose her level as per the lower end of her age bracket to begin with. I did this for two reasons, one to give her some confidence and not scare her away from the scheme straight away, and also because I wanted to gauge how close the books at school are in level compared to her age range on the site.
The books are delivered by first class post so they didn’t take too long to arrive. Inside the A4 envelope were four books, a red bag to store the books, a bookmark, and a reward chart with stickers to complete each time you read a book.
There is also an A4 envelope to send your books back to receive more. No postage to be paid for by the customer, this is all covered in the subscription price.
We have averaged keeping our books for around a week before sending some back. It’s recommended to send three out of your four back to avoid heavy envelopes and also to keep one at home whilst waiting for the next lot to arrive.
After our first delivery, I realised the level of books I chose was too easy, so thankfully it was just a case of clicking a different box on the website to receive our different level in the next post.
6yo thought it was great fun posting the books back almost as much as she loves receiving them.
From a parental perspective, I really do think this has helped 6yo’s confidence with reading. Her books at home are what she deems as “fun” and not something that is a chore to read which is good. She’s not associating them with school and therefore she’s keener to learn and read with them.
To see her reading level increase at school and home during the time we have been using the subscription service says it all for me and makes it worth every penny. If you’d like to give it a go yourself, then you can use the code HAPPY2014 for £5 off your first month subscription price (no minimum subscription length).