Jolly Phonics© is a systematic, sequential, phonics program designed to teach children to read and write. It teaches the letter sounds in an enjoyable, multisensory way, and enables children to use them to read and write words.
Independent studies have shown that , after one year’s teaching, children taught with Jolly Phonics© have an average reading age around 12 months ahead of their actual age.
The five basic skills for reading and writing are:
1) Learning the letter sounds
2) Learning letter formation
4) Identifying sounds in words
5) Spelling the tricky words: this skill is taught at the elementary grade level.
- Learning the letter sounds: Jolly Phonics© teaches the 42 main sounds of the English language, not just the alphabet. The sounds are grouped, with some sounds as single letters and others as two letters. Each sound is accompanied by an action helping children to remember the letter(s) that represent it. As children progress they can perform the action and say the sound as the teacher points to the letter. As a child becomes more confident, the actions are no longer necessary.
- Learning the letter formation: children need to form each letter in the correct way, holding the pencil in the “tripod” grip. They begin with the letter c as this forms the basic shape of some other letters, such as d. Jolly Phonics© shows the correct formation of each letter.
- Blending: blending is the process of saying the individual sounds in a word and then running them together to make the word. This is a technique all children need to learn, and the skill improves with practice.
- Identifying sounds in words: learning to spell words requires listening for the sounds in the word. This comes from the foundation of letter sounds and blending. Jolly Phonics© uses rhyming games, poems, finger tapping and other games to assist children in practicing the identification of words to make the practice enjoyable.
- Spelling the tricky words: many words are more difficult to sound out. These are called “tricky words”, such as was, mass, said, laugh, etc. The child is taught to write the word in the air, saying the letters out loud. Then the child writes the word on paper.
A child will benefit greatly from a love of reading for pleasure. Once a child has begun to learn the letter sounds they will be able to pick them out in words. They should then move on to working out whole words through blending. As a result it is easier if reading begins with storybooks that use simple words. Once there is fluency in reading, the most important skills for a child will be comprehension and the understanding of more words.