Jelly and Bean and the Statutory Requirements for Teaching Reading
The Jelly and Bean reading scheme has grown and evolved since it was first envisaged in 1998. The original phonic strategy was neither analytic phonic nor synthetic phonic. It was simply a combination of the author’s own knowledge of phonics adapted to the sequence and progression of the National Literacy Strategy introduced by the UK government in 1998.
At this time phonics (sounds and spellings) was one element of the Searchlights Model of teaching children to read. The other three elements were grammatical knowledge (the order of words in sentences – syntax), knowledge of the text (its meaning – semantics) and word recognition knowledge (orthography, graphemes, layout – visual). Children were taught to read by multi-cueing from these elements.
In 2005 a parliamentary review into the teaching of early reading was set up. This culminated in the Rose Review of 2006. Systematic synthetic phonics was brought to the fore and the Simple View of Reading became the new model. This model has only two components – skilled word recognition and spoken language comprehension. Skilled word recognition is equated to decoding. Decoding is taught as a single-cueing method of sounding out phonemes and blending them into words, after which children can access the words in their memory in order to read them. The government’s own phonic programme, Letters and Sounds, was published in 2007. The phonic progression in the Jelly and Bean books was not the same as the phonic progression in this programme. We started work adapting the books to complement the Letters and Sounds progression in 2008.
In 2010 the Department for Education archived the National Literacy Strategy and tightened up the synthetic phonic approach by making it the statutory teaching method in all state schools in England. Daily discrete phonics lessons became mandatory for children in the Reception Year and Year 1. In 2012 the Phonics Screening Check was introduced to check that children in Year 1 classes could sound out and blend letters into simple real words and nonsense words.
In 2014, a new National Curriculum was published. It applies to children in Year 1 and above in English schools. It specifies that they should be taught to read using systematic phonics.
Reading – word reading: Pupils should be taught to:
– apply phonic knowledge and skills as the route to decode words
– respond speedily with the correct sound to graphemes (letters or groups of letters) for all 40+ phonemes, including, where applicable, alternative sounds for graphemes
– read accurately by blending sounds in unfamiliar words containing GPCs that have been taught
– read common exception words, noting unusual correspondences between spelling and sound and where these occur in the word
– read words containing taught GPCs and -s, -es, -ing, -ed and -est endings
– read other words of more than one syllable that contain taught GPCs
– read words with contractions (for example, I’m, I’ll, we’ll), and understand that the apostrophe represents the omitted letter(s)
– read aloud accurately books that are consistent with their developing phonic knowledge and that
do not require them to use other strategies to work out words
– re-read these books to build up their fluency and confidence in word reading
The Early Years Foundation Stage covers the education of children in the Reception Year. The Early Learning Goals for reading and writing are:
children read and understand simple sentences. They use phonic knowledge to decode regular words and read them aloud accurately. They also read some common irregular words. They demonstrate understanding when talking with others about what they have read.
children use their phonic knowledge to write words in ways which match their spoken sounds. They also write some irregular common words. They write simple sentences which can be read by themselves and others. Some words are spelt correctly and others are phonetically plausible.
There is no mention of synthetic phonics in these early learning goals.
However, the National Curriculum 2014 has a statutory section on the revision of the expected work done in EYFS.
Statutory requirements from the National Curriculum for the revision of the Early Years Foundation Stage (p40)
The boundary between revision of work covered in Reception and the introduction of new work may vary according to the programme used, but basic revison should include:
– all letters of the alphabet and the sounds which they most commonly represent
– consonant digraphs which have been taught and the sounds which they represent
– vowel digraphs which have been taught and the sounds which they represent
– the process of segmenting spoken words into sounds before choosing graphemes to represent the sounds
– words with adjacent consonants
– guidance and rules which have been taught.
The work we have done since 2008 means that our books are decodable for children in these stages.