Greg Brooks


It has filled a niche in the market and has proved very successful with our students.


“Second time for me to order this wonderful series of books to help children with reading, spelling and literacy difficulties.  I am so impressed with the systems”


A brilliant book for helping struggling students!


We understand how precious a teacher’s time is and how they would love to devote one-to-one teaching to those who are struggling the most – we also know this is not possible!  Money and time is tight, more now than ever!  With this in mind the Word Wasp and Hornet were created for schools/teachers needing a literacy intervention that can be delivered, one-to-one, by Learning Support staff as well as volunteers and parents! 


Designed for any student, adult or child, with literacy problems. Students learning English as a second language benefit from its extensive phonic base. Students with speech problems benefit from the same structure. Children and adults with poor auditory discrimination all demonstrate a marked improvement in clarity of speech after using the Wasp/Hornet!


The diagnostic marking system means progress can be observed and monitored in a matter of seconds by Teachers/SENCo’s. There are no additional resources/paperwork needed – everything is contained in one book!

The Wasp and Hornet are easy to use which makes them extremely successful: the incentive to learn more is produced as students complete the exercises. The structure of both books is built on the successful acquisition of one set of skills before they can progress to the next.  The skills are introduced throughout the books to reinforce the rules – this is essential for memory training.   In other words: students are never confronted by work that they are unable to attempt!


Unlike a lot of other phonic based programmes The Word Wasp and Hornet have been designed without using patronizing graphics or patronizing language, which means that the programme works just as well with teenagers and adults.


Staff like Word Wasp as it is:

  • easy to use
  • can be used by teacher, LSA, parent in any combination
  • a calming routine
  • easy to show progress (when used alongside standard spelling test)
  • It is a great frustration buster and confidence builder to those older students’

What teachers have to say

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I have been teaching for 24 years in both special schools and as a mainstream SENCO in British Military and International schools and I can say that the manner in which this resource identifies difficulties and raises pupil’s self esteem is truly remarkable. I am seeing consistent improvements in my most challenged English and Japanese pupils who are following this remarkable little book.

  • Individualised nature
  • structured approach
  • fast track from sounds/easy words to harder words
  • repetition/reinforcement
  • built in success

We aim to do a 15-minute session every day, adhering to the easy-to-follow instructions, which is great as it is easy to find a time slot of this duration within the school day. Having their own book allows the student ownership of the programme and they can easily see the progress that they are making. The introduction and, more importantly, the explanation of spelling and phonic rules really helps the student feel in control of their learning.


My students have shown amazing progress. They feel able to tackle new words encountered when reading and will have an informed attempt at new spellings instead of guessing. In addition to this, they will read their own spelling back to themselves and can often identify their own mistakes and then be in a position to rectify them.


The confidence this has given them has been transferred across to other subjects (they have moved up two sets in maths) as they now feel to be on a more equal footing with their peers.
My students have really enjoyed this programme, often reminding me when it is time for their Word Wasp session, and I in turn have enjoyed delivering it and seeing the ongoing success that each student is now experiencing.

The ‘Instruction for coaches’ are really staightforward and easy to follow. We as a school will be investing in this product because it works; the authors Harry and his wife Marie have a real passion for improving phonological development and the benefits of that development.


You do not need to be an expert on phonics to use this approach; but by the time you have completed this book, either as a coach, pupil or adult learner, you will feel like an expert on phonics!

Now thanks to ”Word Wasps” they are thinking positively and making rapid progress. I have sent the girls home with the programme during holiday periods and parents have commented that their daughters enjoy the programme and also of the improvement in their daughter’s confidence and self-esteem.

We have used it for the last two years with 30 pupils. Some started with reading ages of 6 years. All of them have made rapid progress, but most of all, the programme has raised their self-esteem and their level of independence. Their spelling ages have gone up loads!!

I have also used this personally with my own son who has SEN and this has helped with his understanding and also boosted his confidence. It is very user friendly and doesn’t require any special training. The ‘Instructions for Coaches’ are very straightforward. You don’t have to be a genius to use it. It taught me as I used it, it comes with instructions and it really does work!

I use this with 10 children aged 5-7 who are behind with literacy learning. It works… I found it confusing at first but as the programme continues it falls into place.

and it’s great to see the children progressing and enjoying their learning.

that have evolved from the moment of ordering to the prompt delivery and then on to the most important aspect of all the use of the work in the classroom or for individual tuition. We have sets in Zimbabwe where the Special Needs network is small but efficient and I have enjoyed sharing with my immediate colleagues.

I have used the Word Wasp personally and it is also used at my son’s school. Even if your child does not have reading or spelling problems the Word Wasp will give them a fantastic head start. Every parent and every child should have one. The new edition is great too, much more user friendly and even better still you don’t have to be a genius to use it. It taught me as I used it, it comes with instructions and it really does work!

Highly recommended, cost effective resource that is easy to pick up and use.” Nicola Durrant, Specialist Teacher, Essex County Council

Reading age has improved by 8 months and spelling age by 6 months. (SENCO Basildon)

The Word Wasp & Hornet Programme

The Hornet and the Word Wasp teach literacy based on the code and cipher of the English language. They should not be separated. Teaching decoding and encoding together is the most dynamic and successful way to foster literacy.

They have been designed without using patronizing graphics or patronizing language, which means that they work just as well with adults.

The Word Wasp and the Hornet are full, complementary, stand-alone, phonic, colour-coded, reading and spelling programmes. They are one-book-based systems with integrated mutual structures. They encompass a systematic, phonic, and rule based exercise structure and each text has its own dated and diagnostic marking system; making them easy for anyone to deliver, follow, monitor and complete a progress report.

The Word Wasp covers all key stages and the Hornet covers key stages 1 and 2. The Hornet also provides a lower and slower start for the Word Wasp, with which it both over-laps and integrates. It is for younger students from age 5 upwards or for those students deemed to have more severe literacy problems. Other than miscellaneous writing materials nothing else is needed.

The texts are one-to-one manuals designed for school and/or home use or a mixture of both. The programme can be delivered by anyone! The basic qualification is a moderate ability to read the English language. Training is not needed as each exercise is accompanied by, easy to follow, colour-coded instructions.

Both texts offer teachers, support assistants, or parents, a full phonics programme that delivers a measurable record of a student’s progress. The marking system reveals the weaknesses and the text provides the strategies to deal with them.

The programme teaches the concepts, structures and rules needed for engaging in the sequential thinking processes necessary to encode and decode the English language.

The programme is systematically punctuated with word lists, passages and poems for both reading and spelling. From the initial exercises, words and passages contain only decodable or encodable words from elements that have been introduced and coached. Low frequency words are taught early in order to engage the student fully with the phonic structure. Words which are not phonically regular are tied to rules that support a phoneme/grapheme analysis and are grouped in appropriate word frames which are repeated at regular intervals.

The elements are introduced gradually and colour-coded in order to highlight significant patterns.

Blending, phonemic articulation, and segmenting are at the heart of the programme.

Word Wasp

Wasp stands for: Word Articulation, Spelling and Pronunciation.

It is a much more dynamic way of teaching literacy; involving listening, hearing, speaking, watching and above all: thinking!

The number one consideration to be taken on board is this: you cannot train a student to read and write successfully without teaching a student to think. To write and to think successfully you must be able to write and think sequentially.

When writing, the thinking process of students with literacy problems is constantly interrupted by the need to spell correctly. Students are also interrupted when reading by the need to find a context for words which they are unable to decode.

The low frequency words and nonsensical passages in both texts prevent students from guessing, which further instils the phonic approach to spelling and reading.

Students are offered graspable handles. Check the WASP’s explanation of the ‘i’ before ‘e’ rule and never get it wrong again! (page 268).

The Wasp and Hornet have a woven structure from begin to end: Rules are introduced and practiced and reintroduced at specific intervals in order to sustain all the rules and threads that bind literacy.


The real initiation of sequential thinking begins with the ability to scan and decode language sequentially: In English from left to right. The Word Wasp and the Hornet succeed because they initiate this process.

To address the reading and spelling of irregular words and non-phonic words, (we sometimes call them rule-breakers) the programme teaches rules and uses colour to differentiate between:

Vowel sounds: green
Vowel names: red
Silent letters: blue
Phonic deviations: amber 

Students learn, discretely, to look for significant patterns. Very few words cannot be phonically assessed, or fail to find an appropriate niche in the programme. The colour code demonstrates how irregular words are both pronounced and spelled.

The text is versatile: There are cues within the text which could be used to introduce extra grammar comprehension, speech and writing exercises.

Speech problems are ameliorated by the WASP particularly those associated with the reproduction of sibilants.

Tying spelling to speech is an absolute necessity.  However, unstressed digraphs and unstressed vowels are not so easy to interpret as they do not represent the sounds we normally associate them with.  The ability to read and spell unstressed letters is the icing on the cake of fluent reading.  It also gives an extra dimension to spelling skills.  The new editions of both the Word Wasp and Hornet has included exercises to foster those necessary skills.

Reading and Spelling are the most important and noted facets but it’s the Wasp’s capacity to initiate thinking and writing which is exciting.

Coaching & best Practice

Ideally, a period of 15 to 30 minutes a day is needed to deliver the programme. The programme has been delivered successfully on a weekly basis (1 hour) but, needless to say, the more often it is used the more effective the programme becomes.

We are aware that the logistics are determined by the school curriculum and it is not always possible to provide LSA’s for one-to-one coaching sessions. The simple coaching boxes and marking system make it suitable for combined home and school tuition. LSA’s, parents and sixth form students (working a Buddy system) can be recruited as coaches. Some schools have reported that just carrying out 10 min sessions during assembly time, lunch breaks or before and after school, still enabled them to work through the programme successfully.

The texts have been designed so that every time a new lesson is started the coach knows exactly where to begin. The diagnostic grid leaves you in no doubt as to where a student has progressed.

We recommend noting actual coaching time. This gives you a more accurate reckoning of progress; it also gives you a true reckoning of a student’s engagement over a period of time. For instance, it may appear that a student has made little progress but by being able to see the amount of actual coaching hours it may show that they were coached for no more than a few hours: poor punctuality, absences and behavioural issues during sessions can erode progress.

Wasp & Hornet - Example Results


The Word Wasp – used successfully with SEN students at a High School in Leeds.


After an average of only 41 hours WASP intervention, average reading ages rose from 3yrs 4mths and spelling by 3yrs 6mths.

Initial reading age

The Hornet – results gained after a two term intervention with children aged between 8-11.


Average reading ages rose by 1yr 5mths and spelling by 1yr 9mths.

Initial reading age

A ratio gain of at least 2 should be expected from a literacy intervention – What works for pupils with learning difficulties “effectiveness of intervention schemes” – Greg Brooks


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