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. These advisory teachers recommended them to other local schools. Between 2000 and 2005 their use spread across schools in all areas of the UK and also worldwide.
The Rose Report was published in 2006. This report advised schools that children should be taught to read using systematic phonics and that they 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.
Some of these letter/sound correspondences, GPCs, had not previously been taught until Years 1 and 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 in Letters and Sounds (2007).
By revising the language and vocabulary in our books and republishing them in different series we brought the phonic progression in our stories more into line with the phonic progression of Letters and Sounds.
We also published new series. Follifoot Farm Series 1 was published early in 2010, closely followed by Follifoot Farm Series 2 later the same year.
However, at this time, teachers were asking for more books with very simple words. 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, ea, ie, y, oa'.
In 2011, one of the stories from the original Long Vowel Series (The Cave) was used as the basis for a series of six books containing words with the split-digraphs 'a-e, i-e, o-e'. This series, Follifoot Farm Series 3, was co-authored by Joe Greenwood, then aged 10.
The Tom and Bella characters were devised in 2012 by James Greenwood. Three series of books about the playful and amusing incidents between this pair of children were published.
In 2015 we added Tom and Bella Series 4 for children in Year 1.
In 2019 we added the My First Animals Series to our collecion of books. This series introduced animals such as lions, tigers, elephants, hippos, crocodiles where the single vowel letters in their names have 'long vowel' pronunciations. Whilst the number of words in the books may be suitable for the children in the Reception Year, the phonic content of the books is more suitable for children in Year 1.
In 2020 we added Alfie's Adventure. The six books, about a young elephant lost in Africa, form one complete story and they are written in the past tense.
In 2021 we added Vowel Graphemes Sets 1 and 2 where the vowels with the spellings 'ee, ai, oo, oa, ar, er, or, oo, ow, ur, oi, igh, air, ear, ay, ea' are introduced one at a time in that order.
In 2022 we added the Alfie and Harpo Series. These are six separate stories for children in Year 1 about Alfie and his friend Harpo, the hippo, playing down by the river.
At the end of March 2022, the Department for Education removed Letters and Sounds 2007 as its official synthetic phonic teaching programme. It brought in a validation procedure for commerical providers. It is not statutory for schools to use a validated programme.
Jelly and Bean books are not a teaching programme. They are valuable resources for anyone learning to read and write by any method.