Jolly Phonics is a thorough foundation for reading and writing. It teaches the letter sounds in an enjoyable, multisensory way, and enables
children to use them to read and write words. Jolly Phonics is a British programme for teaching reading, writing, and spelling using phonics. It was created by UK teachers Sue
Lloyd and Sara Wernham.
In Jolly Phonics, each of the main 44 sounds that make up the English language has an action. The action for N, for example, is to put out your arms to be a "nasty noisy
aeroplane" nose diving saying 'Nnnnnnnnnn". This helps the children to remember which sound is associated with which letter, and it also makes it quite fun to use.
Gilfach Fargoed Primary introduced the "Jolly Phonics Program" to children in Reception in 2002 as part of our whole school literacy plan. It is a highly structured program which gives children a thorough foundation in the development of reading and writing skills. It is a multi-sensory, active program that is particularly suitable for young children. As well as teaching the letters in an enjoyable multi-sensory way (See It, Hear It, Feel It, Write It), it teaches children to use letters to read and write words.
The system allows whole class teaching and provides a solid foundation for children as they learn basic literacy skills; these are then integrated into the whole language approach used at the school.
Independent studies find that, after one years teaching, children taught
with Jolly Phonics have an average reading age around 12 months ahead of
their actual age. Their spelling age is usually slightly ahead of this.
Boys typically do as well as Girls, and children on free school meals (as
a measure of social class) normally do as well as their classmates.
Parent / Teachers
This guide provides background advice for parents and teachers. It
explains the principles behind Jolly Phonics so that your understanding of
the teaching , and your ability to help a child, is much greater.
Jolly Phonics includes learning the irregular or 'tricky words' such as
'said' , 'was' and 'the'. Together with these materials you should also
Parental support is important to all children as they benefit from plenty
of praise and encouragement whilst learning. You should be guided by the
pace at which your child wants to go. If interest is being lost, leave the
teaching for a while rather than using undue pressure. Not all children
find it easy to learn and blend sounds. It is important to remember that
this is not because they are unintelligent but becuause they have a poor
memory for symbols and words. Extra practice will lead to fluency in
reading and help your child manage at school.
The five basic skills for Reading and Writing are :-
Learning the Letter Sounds
Learning Letter Formation
Identifying Sounds in Words
Spelling the Tricky Words
Although the skills are covered separately
in this guide they will all be taught together.
Learning the Letter
In Jolly Phonics the 42 main sounds of
English are taught, not just the alphabet. the sounds are in seven groups.
Some sounds are written with two letters, such as ee
and or. These are called digraphs. oo
and th can each make two
different ssounds, as in book and moon, that and three. To distinguish
between these two sounds, the digraph is represented in two forms. This is
s a t
i p n
c k e
h r m d
g o u
l f b
ai j oa
ie ee or
z w ng
v oo oo
y x ch
sh th th
qu ou oi
ue er ar
Each sound has an action which helps
children remember the letter(s) taht represent it. As a child progresses
you can point to the letters and see how quickly they can do the action
and say the sound. One letter sound can be taught each day. As a child
becomes more confident, the actions are no longer necessary. There is a
list of all the letter sounds and their corresponding actions at the end
of this guide.
Children should learn each letter by it's sound, not its name. For
instance, the letter 'a' should be called 'a' (as in Ant) and not 'ai' (as
in Aim). Similarly, the letter 'n' should be 'nn' (as in Net) not 'en'.
This will help in blending. The names of each letter can follow later.
the letters have not been introduced in alphabetical order. The first
group (s, a, t, i, p, n) has been chosen because they make more simple
three letter words than any other six letters. The letters 'b' and 'd' are
introduced in different groups to avoid confusion.
Sounds that have more than one way of being written are initially taught
in one form only. For example, the sounds 'ai' (rain) is taught first, and
then 'a-e' (gate) and 'ay' (day) follow later. Examples of these words can
be found in the Jolly Phonics word books.
It is very important that a child holds
their pencil in the correct way. The pencil should be held in the 'tripod'
grip between the thumb and the first two fingers. If a child's hold starts
incorrectly, it is very difficult to correct later on.
A child needs to form each letter the correct way. The letter 'c' is
introduced in the early stages as this forms the basic shape of some other
letters, such as 'd'.
Particular problems to look for are :-
the 'o' - the pencil stroke must be
anti clockwise and not clockwise
the 'd' - the pencil starts in the
middle, not the top
the 'm' and 'n' - there must be an
initial downstroke or the letter 'm' looks like the McDonald's arches
The Jolly Phonics Video and Finger Phonics
books show the correct formation of each letter. A good guide is to
remember that no letters start on the line.
In time a child will need to learn joined up (cursive) writing. It
helps the fluency of writing and improves spelling. When words are written
in one movement it is easier to remember the spelling correctly.. Jolly
Phonics uses the Sassoon Infant typeface which is designed for children
learning to Read and Write. Many of the letters (such as 'd' and 'n') have
a joining tail at the end (an 'exit' stroke) to make it easier to transfer
into joined up writing. (you should check your schools policy as some
schools do not teach joined-up writing to young children).
Blending is the process of saying the
individual sounds in a word and then running them together to make the
word. For instance sounding out d-o-g and making 'dog'. It is a technique
every child will need to learn and it improves with practice. To start
with you should sound out the word and see if a child can hear it giving
the answer if necessary. Some children take longer than others to hear
this. The sounds must be said quickly to hear the word. It is easier if
the first sound is said slightly louder. Try little and often with words
like b-u-s, t-o-p, c-a-t and h-e-n. There are lists of suitable words in
the Phonics handbook and the Jolly Phonics Word Books.
Remember that some sounds (digraphs) are represented by two letters, such
as 'sh'. Children should sound out the digraph (sh), not the individual
letters (s-h). By practicing this they will be able to blend the digraph
as one sound in a word. So, a word like 'rain' should be sounded out as r-ai-n
and 'feet' as f-ee-t. This is difficult to begin with and takes practice.
The Jolly Phonics Regular Word Blending Cards can be used in class to
improve this skill.
You will find it helpful to be able to distinguish between a blend (such
as st) and a digraph (such as sh). In a blend the two sounds, 's' and 't'
can each be heard. In a digraph this is not so. Compare 'mishap' (which
both the s and h are sounded) and 'midship' (which has the quite separate
sh sound). When sounding out a blend, encourage children to say the two
sounds as one unit, so fl-a-g not f-l-a-g. This will lead to greater
fluency when reading.
Some words in English have an irregular spelling and cannot be read by
blending, such as 'said' 'was' and 'one'. Unfortunately, many of these are
common words. the irregular parts have to be remembered. These are called
the 'Tricky Words'.
Identifying Sounds in
The easiest way to know how to spell a word
is to listen for the sounds in that word. Even with the tricky words an
understanding of letter sounds can help.
Start by having your child listen for the first sound in a word. Games
like I-Spy are ideal for this. Next try listening for the end of sounds,
as the middle sound of a word is the hardest to hear.
Begin with simple three letter words such as 'cat' or 'hot'. A good idea
is to say a word and tap out the sounds. three taps means three sounds.
Say each sound as you tap. Take care with digraphs. The word 'fish', for
instance, has four letters but only three sounds, f-i-sh.
The Jiglets help identify the sounds in words. Rhyming games, poems and
the Jolly Jingles also help tune the ears to the sounds of the words.
Other games to play are :-
Add a sound: what do I get if I add a
'p' to the beginning of 'ink'. Answer: 'pink'. Other examples are
'm-ice', 'b-us' etc.
Take away a sound: what do I get if I
take away 'p' from pink. Answer: 'ink'. Other examples as above, and
'f-lap', 's-lip', 'c-rib', 'd-rag', 'p-ant', 'm-end', 's-top', 'b-end'
Spelling the Tricky
There are several ways of learning tricky
Look, Cover, Write and Check. Look at
the word to see which bit is tricky. Ask the child to try writing the
word in the air saying the letters. Cover the word over and see if the
child can write it correctly. Check to make sure.
Say it as it sounds. Say the word so
that each sound is heard. For instance, the word 'was' is said as 'waas',
to rhyme with 'mass', the word 'Monday' is said as Monday.
Mnemonics. The initial letter of each
word in a saying gives the correct spelling of a word. For instance, 'laught'
- Laugh at Ugly Goat's Hair.
Using joined up writing also improves
A child will benefit greatly from a love of
reading from pleasure. This can come from being read to.
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, gradually progressing to books with
Once there is fluency in a childs reading, the most important skills to
learn are comprehension and a wider understanding of words. These skills
can be developed by asking a child questions about a story they have just
||Weave hand in and s shape,
like a snake, and say ssssss
||Wiggle fingers above elbow
as if ants are crawling on you and say a, a, a
||Turn head from side to
side as if watching tennis and say t, t, t
||Pretend to be a mouse by
wriggling fingers at the end of nose and squek i, i, i
||Pretend to puff out
candles and say p, p, p
||Make a noise, as if you
are a plane - hold arms out and say nnnnnnnnn
||Raise hands and snap
fingers as if playing castanets and say ck, ck, ck
||Pretend to tap an egg on
the side of a pan and crack it into the pan, saying eh, eh, eh
||Hold hand in front of
mouth panting as if you are out of breath and say h, h, h
||Pretend to be a puppy
holding a piece of rag, shaking head from side to side, and say
||Rub tummy as if seeing
tasty food and say mmmmmmm
||Beat hands up and down as
if playing a drum and say d, d, d
||Spiral hand down, as if
water going down a drain and say g, g, g
||Pretend to turn light on
and off and say o, o, o ,o
||Pretend to be putting up
an umbrella and say u, u, u
||Pretend to lick a lollipop
and say llllllll
||Let hands gently come
together as if toy fish deflating, and say fffffffff
||Pretend to hit a ball with
a bat and say b, b, b
||Cup hand over ear and say
ai, ai, ai
||Pretend to wobble on a
plate and say j, j, j
||Bring hand over mouth as
if you have done something wrong and say oh !
||Stand to attention and
salute, saying ie, ie
||Put hands on head as if
ears on a donkey and say eeyore, eeyore
||Put hands out at sides and
pretend to be a bee saying zzzzzzzzz
||Blow on to open hand, as
if you are the wind, and say wh, wh, wh
||Imagine you are a
weightlifter and pretend to lift a heavy weight above your head,
saying ng, ng, ng
||Pretend to be holding the
steering wheel of a van and say vvvvvvvvvv
||Move head back and forth
as if it is a cuckoo in a cuckoo clock saying u, oo, u, oo
||Pretend to be eating a
yoghurt and say y, y, y
||Pretend to take an X-ray
of someone with an X-ray gun and say ks, ks, ks
||Move arms at sides as if
you are a train and say ch, ch, ch
||Place index finger over
lips and say shshsh
||Pretend to be naughty
clowns and stick out tongue a little for the th, and further for the
||Make a ducks beak with
your hands and say qu, qu, qu
||Pretend your finger is a
needle and prick thumb saying ou, ou, ou
||Cup hands around mouth and
shout to another boat saying oi!, ship ahoy
||Point to people around you
and say you, you, you
||Roll hands over each other
like a mixer and say ererer
||Open mouth wide and say
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