Series Name


What reading ages does Rapid Plus cover and what chronological ages are the books suitable for?

Rapid Plus is aimed at students with reading ages from 6.6 to 9.6. However, the subject matter and overall look and feel are designed for students with a chronological age of 11 to 14. The increasingly sophisticated illustration styles, layouts, genres, content, and the chapter book format, have been designed and carefully tested with Key Stage 3 students to ensure that they are age appropriate.

Download our Levels Chart (PDF 737 KB) to see which reading age each Rapid Plus stage covers. 

Is Rapid Plus suitable for dyslexic students?

Yes – Rapid Plus is ideal for all students who need support with their reading, including those with dyslexia. The typeface used has been specially designed in consultation with the British Dyslexia Association (BDA) and always appears on a cream background, to support dyslexic readers. 


Does Rapid Plus work for groups or just one to one?

Both. Notes are given in the Teaching Guide for both groups and one to one sessions, and some parts of the series are ideal for groups, such as the playscript in Stages 7 to 9.


How do I use the Rapid Plus Reading Books – for example, if I have a student for a whole lesson, how do I fill the bit after the reading session productively?

Lots of schools withdraw students for the duration of a lesson (50 – 60 minutes), or use the books for group work in lower ability sets. There are notes provided for follow up work for students to complete during the rest of a lesson after a reading session, including photocopy masters, in the teaching guide, and quizzes and spelling activities on the software. Or the student may read independently using the software, which has a ‘Prompt’ feature to support them with any words they cannot read. Rapid Plus is easy to use in a carousel of activities, such as: 

15 minutes individual reading

15 minutes linked software

15 minutes follow up PCM

15 minutes guided reading

How many reading sessions are there if you use Rapid Plus?

Each book at Stages 3 to 6 contains a fiction and a non-fiction text, each suitable for at least one focused reading session. Further sessions may be used to complete the text/s and consider the questions on the Quiz page. Further reading sessions may focus on listening to the story via the model of fluency provided by the Read to Me function on the software, or reading the story independently on the software (which can be done from any computer, including at home) using the ‘Prompt’ feature for support. In addition, there are notes provided for follow up work for students to complete during the rest of a lesson after a reading session, including photocopy masters, in the teaching guide, and quizzes and spelling activities on the software.

How is Rapid Plus different from the primary Rapid Reading – if I’ve already bought primary, do I need Rapid Plus?

The main difference is that the books have been written, designed and illustrated especially for Key Stage 3 students. The levels match Rapid primary books, so that you can easily slot in Rapid Plus to the Rapid you are already using, and students will be much more engaged and responsive to the more ‘grown up’ texts. The software has also been adjusted for secondary students, with a ‘prompt’ feature replacing the auto-correct function so that students are in control of when and how they ask for help. The software is also online, so it can be accessed from any computer – much more user-friendly for large secondary contexts.


Why have you added more stages on to the top – what do they add and how do they work?

SENCos told us about the ‘boomerang’ effect of students who have reached level 3, return to mainstream classrooms, and then struggle to keep up, eventually returning to the SEN department, often with behavioural problems born of frustration. Stages 7 to 9 are designed to bridge the gap between supported and independent reading, giving students leveled practice at level 3, to increase stamina and confidence. The Stages 7 to 9 books are ideal for bottom sets or groups.


How does Rapid Plus support EAL students?

We have worked closely with EAL experts and trialled with EAL students to offer practical and effective strategies. The introduction to the Teaching Guide contains background on working with EAL students, including an invaluable grid of strategies to use before, during and after reading. Every set of reading notes for every text also includes an EAL advice box, translating those strategies into actual activities linked to the text.  


My school uses the Catch Up programme – how does Rapid Plus work for that?

Rapid Plus' series editor, Dee Reid, is a co-founder of Catch Up – and the pedagogy that sits behind Rapid Plus is that of the Catch Up approach. The key principles of Catch Up are reflected in Rapid Plus:


Catch Up principle

Rapid Plus

Prepared reading

Before reading and introduction of Tricky words

Independent reading

Independent reading

Questions to develop comprehension        

Quiz page with questions to develop comprehension

Linked writing

Linked writing in the PCMs or on the software


Does Rapid Plus use a phonics based approach?

Rapid Plus will complement any phonics programme you are using. Many students who struggle with reading at Key Stage 3 have had many years of phonic training and yet are still struggling readers. Rapid Plus gives pupils the opportunity to read texts that engage their interest and are written in familiar and predictable language. Students may need continuing phonic training but they are more likely to see the purpose with these activities if they have had reading experiences that persuade them that persevering with reading is worthwhile. 


Is it suitable for boys and girls?

Yes – the stories feature both boys and girls across the series, and all titles were tested with boys and girls between the ages of 11 and 14.


Will the teaching guidance be suitable for my inexperienced TAs, or even volunteer helpers?

The reading notes in the Teaching Guides have been tested with working TAs in a range of schools ensuring they are practical, short and easy to use. No prior knowledge or preparation is needed – everything the TA needs for a good reading session is in the Reading Book or in the reading notes.


How do the end of stage assessments work?

Every stage of Rapid Plus as an assessment book. This contains two completely new fiction texts, one relating to the stories in Set A and one to Set B. The stories use the same words as the core readers in the set (only six new words are introduced).

Before the assessment reading session, make a copy of the assessment record for the text – available in the Teaching Guide. Introduce the text in the same way as usual, using the Before Reading page. Ask the student to read aloud to you. As they are reading, use the Running Record proforma to score all words read correctly; all omissions; all insertions and all errors.  

When the student has read the story, check comprehension, word knowledge and spelling by using the Quiz page. The questions on the Quiz page are reproduced on the Comprehension, Phonics and Spelling proforma. Give the student a score according to the scoring guidance.

Later, tally the number of errors noted on the Running Record proforma and use the table in the Teaching Guide to identify the accuracy rate. 

Refer to the ‘next steps’ advice in the Teaching Guide to decide what to do next according to the score achieved – either to move on to the next stage or to give further practice to develop particular skills before re-assessing.

Rapid Plus guide

For further information on the Rapid Plus series, take a look at our updated Rapid Plus guide. It's a large file, so please make sure you're connected to Wifi before clicking on the link. (PDF, 44MB).

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