Leading the teaching of literacy
Jolly Phonics has been developed by practising classroom teachers. It is a synthetic phonics scheme (also know in North America as systematic phonics) for teaching children how to read and write during the first school year.
Jolly Phonics teaches children the 5 basic skills they need to master in order to become proficient readers and writers. Children following the Jolly Phonics scheme can expect to be, on average, up to a year ahead with reading and a little further with spelling by the end of their first year.
The ResearchThe Jolly Phonics childrens reading skills were 11 months above the level expected for their ageThe synthetic phonics classes outperformed the whole language classes on 16 out of 19 reading and spelling measuresThe results demonstrated that Jolly Phonics produced effects that were long-lasting
Jolly Phonics has been widely researched and proven to be effective. Here are some quotes from three of the research projects that were undertaken on synthetic phonics including Jolly Phonics. One in England, one in Scotland and one in Canada. A synthetic phonics approach is one that emphasises both the teaching of letter-sounds in isolation and how to blend them together to read a word. This approach is at the centre of Jolly Phonics teaching. If you would like more details of the research into Jolly Phonics please contact Jolly Learning.
3 years of literacy teaching
1st Year2nd Year3rd YearJolly PhonicsJolly GrammarJolly Readers
Jolly Learning has produced three years of literacy teaching materials, bringing both elements of language and literature together.
After Jolly Phonics in the first year, Jolly Grammar provides comprehensive reading and writing teaching, while the Jolly Readers provide an effective start with literature.
5 basic skillsLearning the letter soundsLetter formationBlendingIdentifying sounds in wordsTricky Words
The 5 basic skills covered in Jolly Phonics are:
1. Learning the Letter Sounds2. Learning Letter Formation3. Blending4. Identifying Sounds in Words5. Tricky Words
In this presentation each point is dealt with separately. However, in the classroom they are taught at the same time.
1. Learning the letter sounds
The first skill is learning the letter sounds. The main aim for the children is to fluently say the sounds the letters make.
Letter Sound Order
1) Learning Letter Sounds
The order in which the letters sounds are taught has been grouped from the simplest to the more complex sounds and letters. The first group of letters were chosen because you can make more simple, three-letter words than with any other combination of 6 letters. This enables the children to start blending and reading words right from the start. This is hugely motivating for the children.
The letter sounds are taught first and the letter names are taught later.
The letter c is introduced early on. The formation of this letter comes before the letters d, o, g and q, which helps the children to form them correctly.
The letters b and d are introduced in different groups to avoid confusion.
The digraphs (where two letters make one sound) are introduced in the fourth group of letter sounds.
Storylines and ActionsLearning the sound s
Action: Weave hand like a snake, saying ssssss1) Learning Letter Sounds
Each letter sound is introduced with a story. In the story the children hear the sound and see the action.
(Demonstrate with the s story, sound and action)
The action helps the children to remember the letter sound. The s page illustration in Finger Phonics Big Book 1 and the s picture on the Jolly Phonics Wall Frieze remind the children of the letter sound.
Story, action and then letter formation is the best way of introducing each letter sound to the children.
The Phonics HandbookDetailed teaching notesSound SheetsGames and Activities
1) Learning Letter Sounds
The Phonics Handbook is the core teaching tool for Jolly Phonics. It contains everything teachers need to know about how the programme works and how to teach it.
The opening pages describe in detail the teaching of the five skills. The book then introduces the letter sounds using Sound Sheets. These are worksheets that help the children to put the teaching into practice, write the letter(s) for each sound, and improve pencil control by filling in the picture neatly. Many parents like to make a file or book with the worksheets and regularly go over the sounds with their child.
The Phonics Handbook is also filled with many photocopiable games and activities, such as pairs, card games and listening games, all designed to help children learn, not only the letter sounds fluently, but also to learn the other 4 skills at the same time.
DigraphsTwo or more letters that make one soundsh1) Learning Letter Sounds
Digraphs are an important part of the teaching in Jolly Phonics. The English language consists of 44 sounds* but there are only 26 letters to represent them. Therefore, some sounds are written with more than one letter, e.g., sh, ch, th, ai, er, or, oi, ou, igh, ng, etc.
* There are 44 letter sounds in English. Jolly Phonics covers 42 of them. The other two are: the sound made by the letters si in word television (not many of them) the schwa (swallowed sound) in the, lemon, around, etc.
In Jolly Phonics the digraphs th and oo are initially written in two sizes because they each have two sounds: voiced /th/ sound as in this, that, there, with, etc. (the children like to feel their throat vibrating when they say this sound). unvoiced /th/ sound as in thin, thick, thistle, three, etc. (no vibrating with this sound). short /oo/ sound as in cook, book, foot, look, etc. long /oo/ sound as in moon, shoot, balloon, choose, etc.These differences are important in speaking, even though the letters are the same in writing.
Suggestion: Play Jolly Phonics DVD from Bee, I wish I could read
Alternative Vowel SoundsIntroduced as:1) Learning Letter Sounds Alternatives taught later:ai (rain)ay (play) and a-e (flame)ee (feet)oa (boat)ea (leaf)ow (snow) and o-e (bone)
Initially, one way of reading all the letter sounds is taught. For example ai in rain. Once the children are used to blending words with these digraph, they are taught that there are alternative ways of spelling some sounds. For example, the alternatives for ai are ay (play) and a-e (flame). It is important for the children to have practice reading regular words with all of these sounds in them.
In the Jolly Phonics Word Book there is a page of words for the initial spelling of each letter sound and then a page of words for each alternative spelling of that sound. Parents often find it useful to have this book as it helps them to understand how the code of English works, and provides them with examples of words for their children to blend and/or write. Teachers can photocopy the words (enlarged if preferred), stick them on card and cut them up for the children to have practice blending the words. This is particularly useful for children needing extra individual blending practice.
Later on the Jolly Readers will help develop and practise blending skills. Well look in more detail at the Jolly Readers later.
2. Letter Formation
The next skill is letter formation. The main aim is for the children to form the letters correctly and develop neat handwriting.
Finger Phonics books On the board In the air
2) Letter Formation
To begin to understand how letters are formed, the children can take it in turns to feel the formation of the letters in the Finger Phonics books, by following the arrows in the grooved letters with their finger.
Feeling the formation of the letter in the air prepares the children for forming it correctly when they write it with a pencil. They watch the teacher forming the letter in the air and follow their example with their finger or hand (teachers have to be careful to form the letter in mirror image if facing the children).
The children need to know the handwriting rules: no letters start on the line most letters start with the down stroke first a, d, o, g and q all start with a caterpillar c e and z start by going towards the end of the line b, d, f, h, k, l and t are tall letters, the hand/pencil goes higher when forming them g, j, p, q, y and f are letters with tails, the hand/pencil goes lower when forming them all letters should be close together without bumping, and spaces should be left between words
Pencil HoldTripod grip
Froggy Legs movement
2) Letter Formation
When learning to hold a pencil, the children should use the tripod grip. The movement of the pencil comes from the thumb and first finger. Ensure that the knuckles can go out so that they look like froggy legs. The position is the same for left-handed children.
Writing LettersTracing dotsPencil stroke directionsJoining tailsJoined-up (cursive) handwriting
2) Letter Formation
Trace Over Dotted Letters - Children should start on the bold dot and form the letter by joining up the remaining dots. It is important to watch out for correct formation and accuracy with hitting all the dots. This example comes from The Phonics Handbook.
Pencil stroke direction All the correct pencil strokes are given. Ideally each child should be watched to check that correct formation is used.
Letters With Joining Tails - The Sassoon Infant font has been chosen because its letters have joining tails. Learning this formation from the beginning makes it easier for the children to join their letters when