Precursive or Print Letters?Precursive letters have exit strokes to encourage cursive writingPrint letters are standard letters, without exit strokes
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.
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.
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. 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.The first skill is learning the letter sounds. The main aim for the children is to fluently say the sounds the letters make.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. 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 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.
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 readInitially, 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.
The next skill is letter formation. The main aim is for the children to form the letters correctly and develop neat handwriting.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 wordsWhen 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.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 the school introduces joined-up (cursive) writing.
Letters without joining tails are available in North America. These products are marked as being in print letters.
Joined handwriting helps children to develop greater fluency in their writing. It also encourages better spelling as the children feel how the letters go together by writing them in one continuous movement. This reminds them to put the letters in the correct order.
In class, to consolidate their understanding of the first 6 sounds, the children can watch the first section of the Jolly Phonics DVD.
Other items such as the Jolly Phonics Wall Frieze and Jolly Jingles can also be used to consolidate whats been learned. The next skill is blending. The main aim is for the children to blend letter sounds fluently to work out unknown words. The faster children are at blending, the easier it is for them to read. It enables them to work out the vast majority of unknown words.The first stage in learning to blend is for the children to be able to hear the word after the teacher has said the sounds in it. A teacher may say for example, Can you see the s-u-n? or Where is the b-oy?. Parents can also do this with their child at home.
The children who can immediately hear the words sun and boy, and point to them in the picture, have a good ear for sounds and will have no problems with learning to blend sounds by themselves. With practice all children become successful. However, it does take longer for some, and these children find learning to read more difficult. In the beginning a little practice is needed most days.
As soon as possible, the children should start blending words by themselves or as a class. The words should be regular and they should use only the letter sounds that have been taught. There are several activities for blending practice in The Phonics Handbooks and Jolly Phonics Workbooks, for example.
Blending comes easily to most children. However, some children find it difficult. A technique that helps all children is to say the first sound of a word slightly louder and the others quickly afterwards, e.g., d-ar-k. Examples of regular words can be found in the Jolly Phonics Word Book. Plenty of practice is also needed through the worksheets. The most effective method of blending is when the child is able to blend a word in their head, without saying the individual sounds out loud. Heres an activity you can do with the children:
Write the letters of a word randomly on the board. The teacher points to the letters that make a word. The children have to try and put the sounds together in their head and say the word. This can be done as a group or individually, and it can also be practised at home.
Once the actions for the first 3 groups of letter sounds have been introduced, the action for each sound in a word like t-i-n can be mimed by the teacher. The children have to watch the actions and say the word.
Once a child knows the letter sounds and can read simple, regular words by blending the sounds then they are ready to go through the Word Boxes 118 in The Phonics Handbook. The Word Boxes start with simple words made from the first group of letter sounds and finish with more complicated words made from the last group of letter sounds. Each box of words can be mounted on card and/or laminated, cut up and sent home for extra practice. Once the child can blend all the words in a box, they are given the next one. The majority receive a new box each day. The Word Boxes provide a stepping stone between learning the individual letter sounds and reading storybooks. The Jolly Phonics Read and See books are also ideal. They contain pages with a simple, regular word on one side and hiding under a flap on the other side is a picture of that word.
With Jolly Phonics the children are not expected to read storybooks themselves until they have been given the main blending skills, and have learned some irregular common keywords (tricky words). It is a good idea to explain this to parents at an early parents evening.It is easier for the children to blend words if they say the consonant blend in one go. For example, pl-a-n and not p-l-a-n.
If there are two letters with the same sound next to each other in a word, the children must learn that the sound is only said once. For example, tr-i-ck, and not tr-i-c-k.
Next is the skill of identifying sounds in words. The main aim is for the children to be able to hear all the parts of a word, so that when it comes to spelling it, they are able to recall the parts correctly.Look at the s page in the Finger Phonics Big Book 1 and identify the words that have a /s/ sound in them. (Ask the audience) Is there a /s/ sound in sun?, Is there a /s/ sound in dog?, etc.
Initially, most children find it difficult to distinguish individual sounds and give the wrong answer. Gradually, they start to hear them. The children who are the last to acquire this skill are generally the children who have the greatest problems with learning to read and write.
After the first set of letter sounds have been taught, the children learn to identify all the sounds in simple words. The teacher calls out a word, eg. pat, and the children say p-a-t, holding up a finger for each sound.
(Demonstrate this activity with several words)In The Phonics Handbook there are numerous games and activities that can be used to help develop this skill of identifying sounds in words. For example:
I-Spy with my little eye something: beginning with /s/ beginning with /sn/. When children play I-Spy, it makes them more aware of the sounds in words.
Counting sounds in 3-letter cvc words. Call out 3-letter sound words. Ask the children to say each sound in the word, holding up one finger for each sound. A little practice every day makes it easier for most children to identify the sounds.
Other activities include the use of word families, rhyming words, substituting letters etc.Another way of practising this skill is through dictation. Initially, dictate letter sounds. Watch for correct formation as the children write the letters. When children can hear the sounds in 3-letter words, such as pet, bad, tug, not and fit, they are ready to write 3-letter words from dictation.
Homework Writing Books (preferably with lines) are also helpful: photocopy a page of words from the Homework Writing Sheets in The Phonics Handbook and write the childs name on the sheet. cut off a section of words from the childs sheet and put it into the Homework Writing Book. Ask the parents to dictate the words (without their child seeing them). the children bring the Homework Writing Book back to school for the teacher to mark. If most of the words are correct, then the teacher adds the next section to be sent home that night.
Tricky Words are generally irregular keywords that do not give the correct pronunciation when blended. The children have to learn these by heart. The teaching in The Phonics Handbook aims to help children learn to read and spell tricky words. The tricky words are in a set order and are numbered so that they can be taught in a structured way.
The children should learn to read the tricky words before learning how to spell them. Some children will blend the sounds and say the word incorrectly. This seems to jog their memory and they then say the word correctly. Eventually, they learn to recognize the word immediately.
Look, Cover, Write and Check This technique is used mainly for spelling irregular tricky words. As with reading, it is important that the children look at the tricky word and work out which part of it is irregular. For example, in the word you it is only the ou that is irregular. The spelling of a word becomes familiar when the way it is written is studied.Instead of always identifying the sounds in tricky words, the children could recite the names of the letters several times. They can also form each letter in the air as they say its name.The children copy the tricky word, cover it up, write it on their own and then check to see if they have spelled it correctly. It is good to encourage the children to say the letter names as they write the letters.The children must learn never simply to copy words as this is a very ineffective way of learning to spell.
Say It As It Sounds Most children find it difficult to remember irregular spellings. 20% of children find it extremely hard as they have a poor memory. These children benefit particularly from these different techniques. Say It As It Sounds means pronouncing each word in a way that will remind the child of its irregular part, eg. Monday.
Mnemonics are a fun way to remind children of the spelling of words that they find particularly difficult to remember. Some examples: 1. laugh laugh at ugly goats hair 2. people people eat omelettes people like eggsSo, we have completed the first 9 weeks of the Jolly Phonics programme. By this time most of the children should be able to:Read and write the 42 letter soundsForm letters correctly, with tripod gripBlend regular words, eg. Leg, flag, shootWrite words by listening for soundsRead and spell some of tricky wordsHere is a piece of independent writing. The child has learned the 42 letter sounds, knows how to listen for the sounds in words and can write the letters of those sounds.
You will notice that the word I has been spelled correctly; it is the first tricky (irregular) word to be taught and the child has learned it by heart. However, the spelling of the tricky word was has not been taught. The child has sounded-out the word and written w-o-s. Although the spelling is incorrect, the childs work can be read.
The words w-e-n-t, t-h-a-t and f-u-n have been sounded out and written down correctly by the child. The child must listen carefully to hear the ng at the end of riding. The silent e at the end of horse and the spelling of the long /ie/ sound in riding will be taught later.You may find that the childrens writing is further ahead than their reading. Here is an example of a boys writing from the United States. Ian is 5 years old, in the first 18 weeks of school and has a typical ability in the class.
The word we has been spelled correctly; it is one of the first tricky (irregular) words to be taught and the child has learned it by heart. However, the spelling of the tricky word some has not been taught. Ian has sounded-out the word and written s-u-m. Although the spelling is incorrect, the childs work can be read. The words ou-t and sl-ee-p have been sounded-out and written down correctly by the child. There are some areas Ian needs to work on; you notice he spells they - t-h-a-i. This is logical for Ian as he has learned the sound ai as in rain but not yet the alternative spellings of that vowel sound. This will come later.
Accurate spelling is important. As the children get older they must learn to spell all the tricky words and alternative ways of writing the vowel sounds correctly. This can be taught through a spelling scheme like Jolly Grammar which follows Jolly Phonics and is suitable for children in their second and third school years. However, being able to write all by themselves at this stage gives children enormous confidence and pleasure as they are able to say exactly what they think.
Here is a suggested time schedule for the first year of learning to read and write.
In the first part of the year (about 9 weeks), it is important to make sure the children learn how to blend simple regular words, including those with digraphs and not just CVC words.
Every day there should be some practice of blending regular words, including words with the digraphs that have already been taught.
The Jolly Readers are interesting storybooks designed for children who are just ready to read. They will have learned the initial 42 letter sounds in Jolly Phonics and be able to blend these sounds to read simple words (including words not seen before). All the Jolly Readers have been graded in terms of their phonic difficulty.
Unlike many phonic readers with heavily controlled vocabulary such as the cat sat on the mat, the Jolly Readers have many more words with digraphs. In Level 1, for example, there are words such as look, tree, splash, and paint.
There are three levels available in three difference genres.Here you can see how the different levels have been graded. They use words with the basic letter sounds in Jolly Phonics. Youll notice that the alternative spellings are not introduced until Level 3.Here is a selection of just some of the words children will meet in Level 1. While some words will appear difficult at first, closer inspection shows that all are regular words and easy for the children to decode.
All the tricky words used in each level are listed at the back of each book, and should be known. Parents might like to point to these words and check that they are known by their child.You can observe how the children are progressing with an end of year checklist such as this. Here is a sample section of the kind of record you can keep. You can start by seeing if the children know all the 42 sounds including the digraphs. You can also check their knowledge of the alternative spellings of the sounds as well as the tricky words.
All this however is just a guide to what should be known. It is not strictly necessary to keep checklists if that is not how you prefer to work. It is really a check for yourself to see what needs teaching and it is particularly useful for children who are finding it difficult to read and write.
Reading ability can also be observed with age appropriate books do they read slowly, steadily or fluently, for example? Likewise you can see if they are able to write news or short stories independently.
Jolly Grammar is the next stage for the second and third years following Jolly Phonics. This programme is designed to teach the key rules of grammar, spelling and punctuation. It helps children express themselves better, bring variety to their writing and improve their spelling in a structured way.
Each year has a Grammar Handbook introducing grammar, spelling and punctuation over a 36-week period. Throughout the duration of the Jolly Grammar programme the Jolly Dictionary is used to complement the teaching. Teaching children how to use a dictionary will improve reading and writing, and help them become independent learners. The Grammar Handbooks have a similar format to The Phonics Handbook, including actions for each area of grammar and some revision of Jolly Phonics. The Grammar Handbook 2 also develops dictionary and thesaurus skills, and improves vocabulary and comprehension.
Spelling lessons cover such teaching points such as magic e, alternative spellings, longer words and dictionary skills. Typical grammar lesson include verbs, adjectives, tenses, superlatives etc.The Jolly Grammar Big Books complement the teaching in The Grammar Handbooks and are an ideal way of presenting new concepts to the children.
Jolly Grammar uses tinted words (the same used by Montessori Schools) to help children identify parts of speech in sentences, for example verbs are red and nouns are black.
Both The Grammar Handbooks and the Jolly Grammar Big Books have dictionary lessons to be used together with the Jolly Dictionary.
And so there we have our 3 years of literacy teaching for young children. 3 major studies on Jolly Phonics and the feedback from teachers and parents all point to the same conclusion that Jolly Phonics not only works, but achieves results previously unseen.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.