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Special Educational Needs

Teacher Helping Children To Read

Successfully teaches children with cognitive difficulties

Outstanding results for children with SLCN

Appropriate for students with a wide range of neurological disorders

Enables children to understand ‘how reading works’

Developed by an R&D team including linguists and educational psychologists, BRI (Beginning Reading Instruction) offers the gentlest of introductions to the English Alphabetic Code. The instructions could not be more simple - 'Say the sounds and read the word' - with multiple exposures to each clearly-introduced new word in multiple contexts. The engagement in a richly-created child-friendly world, combined with a laser-sharp focus on decoding and copious amounts of practice, enables specialist tutors and SENCOs to teach even those with significant instructional challenges to read.

The eighty-eight little tales in the three BRI Levels establish the firm phonics foundations that lead to lifelong literacy. The three ARI (Advanced Reading Instruction) Levels gradually increase in Alphabetic Code and grammatical complexity until the ‘how-to’ of reading is firmly established.


BRI raises awareness of the individual components of a basic story: ‘who’, ‘where’, ‘when’, ‘what’, encouraging children to engage with the stories, as well as identifying with the gentle foibles and humour of Sam the Lion, Mat the Rat and friends. Children who are easily confused by the complexities and the meaning of written language find it immensely reassuring to understand how to ‘really read’ a ‘proper book’ within a few minutes of starting ‘I See Sam’. For the adult, this story can seem slight; to the child it is thrilling.


BRI-ARI is particularly suitable for supervision by TAs and volunteers, given the brief, straightforward nature of its instructions (see the Getting Started with BRI guide).

Initial and Mastery Assessments (See Resources) will ascertain the correct Level at which to start, and provide transparent proof of progress. Optional Questions accompany each story, to stimulate the development of speech, language and comprehension. A Spelling with BRI guide augments all three Levels.

Special needs teachers and TAs should note the following to ensure that every individual child is progressing:

​1. Does the child remember code?

2. Does s/he use learned code to sound out unknown words?

3. Is each child slowly progressing to fluency – that is, sounding out fewer and fewer words? Children should be almost fluent at the end of each Level.

4. Does every child automatically use the protocol (sound, sound, say the word) when encountering a word s/he cannot read?

5. Are all faulty and distracting reading strategies eliminated:

a. guessing

b. cueing from the first letter

c. reversal of words due to erratic left-to-right directionality, e.g. saying ‘saw’ for ‘was’ 

d. inattention to the decoding process, e.g. saying ‘this’ for ‘that’?

Point 1: Use the Letter/Sound Cards to introduce and practice each new phoneme-grapheme correspondence before embarking on the relevant story.

Points 1-5: Use the Notched Card ‘Slider’, if necessary (See Resources) and insist on the ‘sounding out’ protocol.

No child should be encouraged to go ‘steaming’ ahead using faulty strategies. Once embedded, it is far harder to rectify these.

The tales stand up well to rereading - as many times as necessary for decoding to be secure enough for the child to read with expression and/or discuss the characters and antics of the lively animal characters.

Samples of Books

To see sample text, go to the Buy BRI Books and Buy ARI Books pages and click 'Shop Now' button to go to the Amazon page, which provides a 'Read sample' option for a preview of each book.


“They really are such little gems and work better than anything that I have ever used with the most challenging children.”

Literacy Tutor

“A highly recommended remedial/SEN/EAL programme.”

Ark Academies Literacy Coordinator, UK

“Thank goodness for BRI - I know I wouldn't have been able to help the tough cases without it.

Special Needs Tutor

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