The first Jelly and Bean books were written in 1998 to accompany the National Literacy Strategy. They were developed with the help of staff and pupils at Saltergate Infant School and Beckwithshaw Primary School in Harrogate. In 2000 they were discovered by the Special Educational Needs advisory teachers in North Yorkshire and Leeds who recommended them to other local schools. Between 2000 and 2005 their use spread across schools in all areas of the UK and also worldwide.
Jelly and Bean Ltd was set up in January 2006. The company moved to business premises overlooking the fields at Follifoot Ridge Business Park in 2007. The view from the office window became the inspiration for the Follifoot Farm stories published later in 2010.
After a parliamentary consultation on the teaching of reading, the Rose Report was published in 2006. This report advised schools that children should be taught to read using systematic phonics and that children should be given phonically 'decodable' books. The Jelly and Bean books fitted this recommendation and more schools in the UK began using them.
The Department of Education launched their phonic programme Letters and Sounds in the autumn of 2007. The phonic progression of Letters and Sounds was not the same as that of the National Literacy Strategy. The main change was that children were now to be taught one spelling of each of the 44 phonemes of the English language in the Reception Year.
These letter/sound correspondences, i.e. grapheme/phoneme correspondences, GPCs, were not all taught in the National Literacy Strategy until part way through Year 2. This new initiative meant that the order of introduction of graphemes and phonemes in our books was not the same as the order set out by Letters and Sounds. Some of the grapheme/phoneme correspondences in our original Long Vowels Series and More Vowels Series, written for children in Years 1 and 2, now had to be taught in the Reception Year.
By revising the language and vocabulary in these books and republishing them in different series, we have, since 2008, been bringing our books into line with the phonic progression of Letters and Sounds.
We have also published new series to give children suitable reading material for Phase 3 of Letters and Sounds. Follifoot Farm Series 1 was published early in 2010. This was closely followed by Follifoot Farm Series 2, published later the same year.
However, at this time, teachers were asking for more books for Phonic Phase 2 and at the pink book-band level. The First Words Series was devised to accommodate this demand and was published in 2010 also.
More stories suitable for children in Year 1 were devised next. The Early Vowels Combinations Series was published in 2011 to include the vowel graphemes 'ai, oo, ee, ie, y, oa'.