Friday, 25 April 2014

Jelly and Bean - Phonics reading for Children

Jelly and Bean but who is who?
If you have not heard about these books, sit up and pay attention!  Jelly and Bean are the cutest, best books ever to get your youngster reading.

I first discovered Jelly and Bean by Marlene Greenwood when S brought one home from school as part of her daily read.  The book was so cute and really well structured to help her read with her use of phonics and blending.  This meant that immediately she was excited because she was 'reading a proper book'.  The delight of this discovery is really important in my eyes.  Reading is fun. It is not 'homework' or 'boring'.  Books like Jelly and Bean mean that children very quickly can 'read' and if they are anything like S, that means they want to read more and more.

As more Jelly and Bean books arrived home, we fell in love with the cats, the pigs and the dogs.  Super characters developing her reading potential as we went along.  Each introducing more sounds and blends including tricky words (red words her school call them).

N wanted to be involved and loved blending the sounds with words that S gave her to read herself. Yes, they shared the books. As S started to bring home books other than Jelly and Bean as her reading progressed, I decided to buy the books for N and her.

I looked everywhere for the books - usual suspects such as Amazon, Scholastic, The Book People, even eBay, but nothing. I found two listed on Amazon but they were pretty pricey for second hand.  Oh dear. Then I Googled them and there they were! I was delighted as you can imagine.  Also, what super prices for such lovely sets of books.

I ordered the original 'white' cover series as that's what S had brought home first.  They arrived and both girls wanted them.  Isn't that typical. I did tell S they were for N as she was learning and not as clever reading as her, which was accepted as the answer, providing she could read the books too. Yes, of course she could.

Each book gently introduces new sounds with sweet pictures and lots of repetition.  There is a great structure to them and their stages as they increase in complexity as children learn. Now, I'm not a teacher, but as a parent, I love that my girls want to read so for the whole of the Easter holidays, despite them being easy for her now, S read Jelly and Bean books.

At the end of the books, all the words used are on the back page. This is a great little 'check' for me to see if my girls actually know the words or were guessing from the pictures.  They love reading the words they have learned again.  In some of the books with more words we make up silly sentences like "Dad sat on a red frog".  Anything to get the giggles going.

N is 3 years and 4 months old and has now read the first lot of Jelly and Bean books I bought for her. Some words are very tricky for her such as 'Bean' and 'Wellington' (with the latter she tends to forget what the letters she's already sounded out are by the time she's reached the last one, ha, ha - but she recognised it once told what it was by sight).

My new Jelly and Bean books - reading with lunch
I've just bought the Series B books and she picked one up straight away with her lunch and started to read it.  She's not put off by any tricky words because in the whole "I can read all by myself" and "I have read a whole book" are what she says and that's super exciting for her.  And that's what matters.

So, here is my lovely collection (so far) of Jelly and Bean books.  I think the Pig Family will be next and I recall much fun about things falling into a pond so I'll have to look those up too.  If you are interested in getting your children reading and they are keen, you could do far worse than pick up Jelly and Bean.  Pop along to their website or have a chat to them on Twitter.

This review was produced out of the love of Jelly and Bean books for my girls.  I was not offered any incentive to write it.

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