Jelly and Bean

Frequently Asked Questions

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Jelly and Bean books are organised by the phonic structure of Letters and Sounds and the language guidance of a book band system. Our suggested reading order takes into account the phonic structure of the vocabulary, as each new word is introduced, and the complexity of the language used in the sentences.

Details of the reading order for all our current 154 books for 2020 can be accessed from our Teaching Guides page.

Older versions of reading order charts and phonic structure charts may be accessed from the links below.

Reading Order June 2019

Reception Year Phonic Structure Chart 2019

Year 1 Phonic Structure Chart 2019

Phonic Structure Chart (2018)

High-Frequency Word Chart (2017)

Reading order May 2018

Handbook for Teachers  (a medium quality resolution screen version 2017)

New reading order January 2016

Reading order April 2015

Reading order December 2013

Reading order April 2013

Reading order September 2012

Reading order September 2011

Reading order 2010

Reading order 2008

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A. The Jelly and Bean resources of books and writing activities have been designed for children between the ages of 4 and 7 years in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 classes in schools in the United Kingdom. 

They introduce letters and words for children to learn in small steps. Children are successful at each stage. They learn without any difficulty and enjoy the process. This motivates them to want to learn more. The stories begin by introducing a few letters in a few words that the children understand. They learn to write the letters and say the words.

Initially, they also learn a single sound that corresponds to a single letter in words like 'cat' and 'dog'. However, when they meet words like 'the, I, to, go, me, is, my, you, are', where the letters do not correspond one-to-one with the sounds within the words, they have to learn these as specific words with specific spellings.

It is important that the children know the meanings of these words as they appear in sentences, so that they have the extra clues of syntax (order of words in sentences) and semantics (meaning of words) to help them work out how to pronounce the words they see.

There are no easy phonic rules that apply to some of the most common words in the English language. In fact, the sounds in all words are abstract knowledge which children do not need to know until they come to read and write. They have to learn to identify these sounds at the same time as they learn the written equivalent.

The phonic phases (the order in which the sounds in words are introduced) that underpin the Jelly and Bean books are those of Letters and Sounds (2007). The phonic teaching strategy (of analysing written words to identify the sounds within them) is based on the National Literacy Strategy (1998).

Within the detailed guidance for these two schemes, the Department for Education identified the elements of a systematic phonic progression and the 100 most common words in written English that children need to know for them to make progress in learning to read and write. These words have been incorporated into our books gradually. By combining these two aspects of the National Literacy Strategy and Letters and Sounds, we have tried to ensure that our books fit within the Phonic Phases of Letters and Sounds and also the coloured book-band system for guided reading. 


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No. The order of introduction of letters and sounds is different in all the phonic programmes. However, they all introduce the letters of the alphabet, the consonant digraphs, 'th, sh, ch' and the vowel digraphs, 'ee, oo' in the Reception Year.



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The use of these two words early in the A Series is due to them being on the old list of 45 high-frequency words set out in the National Literacy Strategy in 1998 for children to learn in the Reception Year.

However, they are both very useful verbs to hold CVC words together in simple sentences.

Both words have two identical letters in the middle, 'ee' and 'oo'. It is possible to draw a pair of eyes in each of these letters. The verbs 'see' and 'look' then genuinely do represent their own meanings. In this way, the words 'see' and 'look' become very good reminders of the sounds for 'ee' and 'oo' in other words learnt later.

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The letter 'y' has at least four different roles in the English language, three of these as vowels and one as a consonant. Young children meet these different roles in the very common words 'mummy, my, yes, gym' before they first attend school.

Jelly and Bean books deal with the role used in 'mummy' first. Here the sound at the end of the word 'mummy' is /i/ (or sometimes /ee/, depending on accent and region). Now, 'i' is a shy little letter and does not like to be at the end of a word, so big tough 'y' helps him out and takes his place. This rule is known as the 'Shy i, Toughy y Rule' and it gives children a good way to remember that we use 'y' at the ends of words like 'happy, daddy, sorry' and 'mummy'. Children need to know this rule early so that they can write birthday cards to 'mummy' and 'daddy'.

The second role of 'y' is in words like 'my, by, cry, sky, fly', where it is pronounced as the 'long vowel' of the word 'I'. It is first introduced in the word 'my' in book 10 of the A Series.

The third role of 'y', as a consonant, can be found at the beginning of words like, e.g. 'you, yes, yell, yellow'. It is first introduced in book 15 of the A Extra Series.

The fourth role of 'y' can be found in the middle of words like 'gym, crystal, gypsy'. In words like these 'y' is pronounced the same as the 'short i' /i/.

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Yes. The phonic approach used in the books gives children in the Foundation stage in nursery schools and Montessori schools an easy introduction to reading and writing so that they will be successful and well-motivated learners.

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Yes, the books are compatible with Letters and Sounds. However, we do not start with the letters 's, a, t, p, i, n'. This is because there are very few written words containing only these letters that can be illustrated. Our first book, A1, begins with 7 letters (a, c, h, m, n, o, t) and 5 words (cat, mat, hat, on, a). Letters and words are gradually added to the books in the AB Starter Pack, the First Words Series and Tom and Bella Series 1 until all 19 letters of Phonic Phase 2 of Letters and Sounds have been introduced. All the vocabulary is phonically regular at this stage except for the irregular word 'the'.

Then the Phonic Phase 3 letters, 'j, q, v, w, x, y, z', are introduced in words, followed by the consonant digraphs, 'sh, ch, th, ng', and the vowel digraphs, 'ee, ea, oo (look), oo (pool), ay, ai, ow, ou, or, er '. The 'high-frequency' words for this phase, 'me, my, go, to, no, he, she, we, they, are, you' are introduced at the same time as some of those from Phonic Phase 4. Some words with adjacent consonants are also used as part of the vocabulary because it is impossible to write stories in natural language without using words of this type.

There are occasionally 'incidental' words used, where graphemes from Letters and Sounds Phase 5 are used earlier than indicated. An example of this is 'ph' in the word 'elephant' introduced in the My First Animals Series. At this stage it is treated as a 'tricky' word.

We have not used all the graphemes specified in Letters and Sounds for Phase 3 in our resources for the Reception Year. Those missing are 'oa, ar, oi, ur, air, ear, ure, igh'. These are added in our resources for Year 1.

Please click on the 'Phonics' tab and access each phase from the drop-down menu for full details of the introduction of the letter/sound correspondences.

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In 2014 our books were included on the CD of resources that accompanies 'Which Book and Why: Using Book Bands and book levels for guided reading in Key Stage 1' published by the Institute of Education Press.

Our books take into account the nature of the vocabulary used, making sure that it progresses gradually from simple to complex, the length of each sentence and the number of words on a page as well as phonic content. Teachers may see the vocabulary used in each story by clicking on the appropriate icon on the Teaching Guides page.

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Decoding simply means pronouncing the words that are seen written on a page or screen. When children can pronounce a word that they see on a page, i.e. they can say it, then they have 'decoded' it.

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Jelly and Bean are sister and brother. Jelly is the female cat with blue eyes and a white chest, paws and tail. Bean is white around his nose. Otherwise, he is a black cat.  He has green eyes.

Wellington is the father of Kevin. Father and son are farm dogs and they have an outside kennel, although they live in the farmhouse when it is cold and wet.

Lotty is the farmer's pet dog. She has a basket under the kitchen table.

Jelly, Bean, Wellington, Kevin and Lotty all live at Follifoot Farm.

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