Skill Matching

All schools are now required to teach reading through a combination of synthetic phonics and high frequency words. Teachers have invariably avoided using ‘real books’ (i.e. books that are not drawn from reading schemes) to teach reading because they are not seen to be sufficiently phonically regular or contain many high frequency words and so cannot give children the practice they require in applying their phonics and sight word reading skills to text.

Skill matching is an innovative and exciting way of overcoming this potential disadvantage of using real books when teaching reading. We have worked closely with University based computer scientists to develop ground-breaking new technology that has enabled us to analyse every word in the 500 books to identify all the phonic and sight word reading skills required to read each book. This allows us to identify the books with the most frequent occurrences of any phonic skill being taught through any synthetic phonic programme. This will allow children to practise their phonic decoding skills through stories that stimulate and delight, which will in turn, help to ensure that their phonic knowledge can be successfully generalised. Skill matching allows us to do exactly the same for high frequency words and to provide details of which books have the most frequent occurrences of any given word so that children can gain invaluable experience of reading words in a broad context and generalise their sight word reading skills.