What is Jolly Phonics?

Jolly Phonics

Introduction to Jolly Phonics

Jolly Phonics is a leading synthetic phonics publisher, renowned for its child-centered approach to teaching literacy. This method utilizes synthetic phonics complemented by actions for the 42 letter sounds, making it an engaging and effective way to teach literacy. Particularly effective for children with ASD and developmental disabilities, Jolly Phonics embraces a multi-sensory method that is both motivating and enjoyable for children and teachers alike. The program’s structure, which organizes letter sounds into seven distinct groups, facilitates a comprehensive understanding of English phonetics.

Learning the Letter Sounds

Unlike traditional methods that focus solely on the alphabet, Jolly Phonics teaches the 42 main sounds of English. This systematic approach, teaching sounds in a specific non-alphabetical order, allows for the formation of a greater number of simple words at an early stage. For example, the first group of letters - s, a, t, i, p, n - is selected because they form more simple three-letter words than any other six letters. This strategy enables children, including those with learning challenges, to start building words quickly and effectively.

Groups of Sounds

  • 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

Children first learn each letter by its sound, a foundational step for future reading and writing success. The names of the letters are introduced later, ensuring a focus on phonetics first.

Learning The Letter Formation For Children

As the letter sounds are introduced, the children are simultanesouly taught how to form each letter correctly. Initially, the children form the letters in the air modelling the teacher. By regularly feeling the formation of each letter and then writing it, most children form their letters correctly after the first 12 weeks. Daily practice supports letter writing and accurate formation.

The pencil should be held in the “tripod” grip between the thumb and the first two fingers. The grip is the same for both left and right-handed children. If a child´s hold starts incorrectly, it is very difficult to correct later on.

Blending and Sound Identification

Key to the Jolly Phonics approach is the early introduction of blending sounds, a skill that forms the basis for reading. Children are also trained in identifying sounds in words, an essential skill for developing accurate spelling, even with tricky words.

Identifying the Sounds in Words

Listening for the sounds in words gives children the best start for improving spelling. Even with the tricky words an understanding of letter sounds can help.

Tricky Words For Children (Sight Words)

Tricky words, with irregular spellings, are taught separately in the Jolly Phonics program. This approach ensures that children can navigate these exceptions effectively, crucial for developing comprehensive literacy skills.