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Author and editor Tony Bradman on Reading Planet’s exciting new Astro series for KS2

Rising Stars

30-second briefing

Astro is the exciting new strand from Reading Planet, series-edited by author Tony Bradman. Aimed at struggling and reluctant readers in KS2, it provides 48 accessible and appealing books that are also available as interactive eBooks with audio and quizzes.

Who is Astro designed for?

The Astro series is designed for children at every level of KS2 who face challenges with their literacy skills, or who are reluctant to engage with books.

The books have been designed to be as accessible and interesting as possible in every aspect – text, illustration and design. 24 of the books are highly decodable so they are ideal for children who haven’t yet mastered aspects of phonics.

How can Astro support pupils with SEN?

The most important aspect of any book is that it should be engaging. With this in mind, Astro books have been designed with enticing covers, storylines and artwork that will capture SEN pupils’ interest from the very first page.

Astro uses ‘dyslexia-friendly’ fonts, avoids overcrowding, and is printed on tinted paper to reduce glare. Books are also shorter and contain chapters, to help build confidence and stamina in reading.

How were the Astro books created?

As series editor I worked closely with the in-house Rising Stars team to come up with the most appropriate themes and topics for the books. We then signed up authors with a great track record of writing engaging and accessible texts.

Authors were briefed to work to specially developed levelling and phonics series guidelines, and every manuscript was reviewed by an independent primary English advisor, specialising in reading and phonics.

What kind of books are included in the Astro series?

There’s a great range! Non- fiction includes books about neurodiversity, the deep sea, young environmentalists, computer games, Tutankhamun and two terrific titles that support the Black Curriculum: Amazing Men and Women in Black History.

Diversity and inclusion are cornerstones of the series. In fiction we have adventure, comedy, thrillers, sport, two graphic novel mini-series, contemporary school stories and an Indian folk tale – something for everyone, in fact!

What can you tell us about Astro eBooks?

Every Astro book is available as an interactive eBook as part of a subscription to Reading Planet Online for KS2. A subscription gives unlimited access for a year and can be accessed in school and home.

Every eBook includes synchronised audio which is ideal for supporting struggling readers. Plus, there are self-marking quizzes to support comprehension and vocabulary development, plus downloadable teaching notes and pupil worksheets.

Need to know

  • Visual graphic novels, exciting non-fiction and contemporary school stories will spark a love of reading
  • Dyslexia-friendly fonts, short chapters and glare-reducing tinted paper make the books accessible
  • 24 books are highly decodable and ideal for phonics practice and revision in KS2

Tony Bradman is series editor of the Astro series and author of more than 50 children’s books.

Find out more at


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