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Case Study

Collins’ Big Cat and Snappy give teachers a helping hand with phonics

Collins education publishing has a rich heritage of supporting schools with high-quality resources. They wanted a tool to enhance the phonics learning experience in schools and make life easier for teachers. We built them a bespoke Big Cat Phonics platform: it delivers fast, fun phonics lessons that let teachers concentrate on observing and assessing children – so they can focus their individual support where it’s needed most.

The challenge

Collins wanted to make it easy for teachers to generate and deliver perfectly-pitched phonics lessons that would be fun enough to hold a whole class’ attention. They needed a truly dynamic tool: flexible enough to meet the needs of different schools and classes, and powerful enough to keep children engaged and progressing throughout the year.

Key points

Bespoke platform
Classroom resource


To achieve the level of control Collins wanted to give teachers, we designed an innovative delivery engine that could generate custom lessons based on a class’ specific needs and progress. The lessons are delivered by Collins’ well known Big Cat, and a new character that we created called Snappy.

The unique delivery engine dynamically combines thousands of sound elements to create customised lessons, and tracks each class’ progress to make sure future lessons are based on an appropriate mix of familiar and new sounds.

As the children become familiar with each sound, the system automatically adjusts the amount of support that Big Cat and Snappy provide. Teachers can also manually adjust the level of automatic support, and the vocabulary settings, for each class.

In addition to the 10-minute lessons, the system also provides a range of:

  • themed bonus games which can be used individually by students or played in teams with an adult keeping score
  • printable resources and video guides to support lesson delivery.

We’ve worked with Can Studios on a number of elearning projects for the schools market. We’ve always found them excellent to work with, contributing innovative and creative ideas to the development process.

Nick Measures

Collins Education


The Big Cat Phonics lesson generator gives teachers all they need to teach synthetic phonics in a fast, fun, systematic way. Because the sessions are delivered automatically teachers can concentrate on observing and assessing children’s progress – and focussing individual support where it’s most needed.

By creating a tool that can generate activities based on the exact phonemes the class has practised so far, Big Cat Phonics can deliver a tailored learner-experience for a wide range of abilities and phonics experience.