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The Downley School

“Learning, Growing and Succeeding Together”

The Hornet - Literacy Primer

What is Hornet?

The Hornet Literacy Primer is a highly effective manual for teaching literacy skills: reading and spelling.

The most frequent underlying problem, which effects reading, spelling and speech, is one of auditory discrimination: the ability to identify sounds. Without this ability, students are unable to initiate the thinking process.  Sequential thinking is at the root of cognitive development.  These processes often remain undeveloped in both children and adults with reading and spelling problems.

The Hornet’s early exercises are concerned with learning the basic phonic sounds of the alphabet code.  These sounds are at the very foundation of our language.  The programme is based on phonics and rules, central to which is the development of the ability to process sounds; particularly vowel sounds.  Students of the Hornet will, from the beginning, develop the ability to identify vowel sounds from speech and express them graphically ( write them down!). 

Who can benefit from The Hornet?

All children starting primary school will benefit from beginning their education with a language primer as easy and effective as the Hornet.  Those students without problems will be catapulted into literacy whilst those requiring a little more encouragement have a fighting chance of catching-up.

Why does my child not use this program in school?

In line with the graduated response (as outlined in the SEN Code of Practice), Hornet is often reserved for those children for whom other Literacy interventions have not been successful.  This is because it requires dedicated one to one time with a Learning Support Assistant and often resources are limited.  Hornet is reserved for children with specific difficulties in Literacy or those who have dyslexia.  

Can we support by doing Hornet at home?


The Hornet Literacy Primer is a manual for teaching literacy skills: reading and spelling. It can be used by anyone.  In short: you do not need to be a teacher or a professional:  A coach needs a moderate ability to read the English language.  Other than the manual, all you need is a pencil, an exercise book and scrap paper.   

The Hornet manual can be bought direct from the following website: