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The English Skills Box

Tuning into Texts with SATs-focused Questions

The English Skills Box provides opportunities for pupils to read an exciting range of graded texts to support, match or challenge their needs and to creatively apply their skills and knowledge of English comprehension, vocabulary, spelling, grammar and punctuation.  

15 colour sets of five cards within each box provide a range of illustrated fiction (modern and classic), non-fiction, rhyme and poetry texts for children to read and enjoy. The texts are aligned to book bands: Box 1 Green to White; Box 2 White to Grey; and Box 3 Grey to Dark Red and beyond. The use of a qualitative and quantitative readability measure ensures greater reliability in text measurement and progression. 

Follow-up, skills-focused activities link to the statutory English national curriculum requirements and the content domains for reading, spelling, punctuation and grammar, as featured in national tests (SATs). The number of activities gradually increase over the three boxes.

The careful grading and steady skills progression mean the cards may be used in whole-class teaching, small guided reading groups or independently by the pupils. They may be used in sequence or selected by the teacher to match identified needs. The cards have been written to increase in difficulty as children progress through the box. Cards within a colour set may be tackled in any order.

After every three card sets, pupils may take a progress test to review knowledge and skills met along the way. Each test covers reading comprehension, vocabulary, spelling, grammar and punctuation and has a maximum score of 20 marks. Tests are written in the style of national tests and are free to download below. Answers are available in the Teacher Guide.

The English Skills Boxes contain:

  • 75 cards in 15 colour sets of five cards;
  • 75 child-friendly answer cards;
  • a Teacher Guide with card-by-card notes and answers

Free, downloadable progress tracking resources including:


  • Review by Madeleine Barnes, English Consultant and Former Assistant Head Teacher
  • Review by John Dabell, Educational Consultant, Author and Reviewer

Request free digital sample cards to peruse this amazing resource.


See more videos below:

The Assessment Side of Reading
Finding the Reading Balance
How to Use The Teacher Guide
Cross-Curricular Learning
Focus on GPS
A Resource that Saves you Time



Books in this series: