Q: What is Jolly Phonics?

A: Jolly Phonics is for whole-class, small group use, or to be used by those working with individual students in their first years of learning to read and write for meaning. It is typically used with preschool and kindergarten students. The early weeks focus on learning the letter sounds and their use in reading and writing. With actions, songs and a story line for each of the 42 letter sounds, the multi-sensory teaching is very motivating for young children. The work is achievable and progress is fast. After one year, the children’s average reading age can be 8-12 months ahead of their actual age. Writing can be advanced as well. Success can be fun, while building skills and confidence.

Q: How does Jolly Phonics work with different ability ranges and English language learners?

A: Jolly Phonics is effective across ability ranges. Boys can do as well as girls, while those learning English as a second language can do as well as children who have it as their first language. The proportion of children needing remedial help is very much lower. Jolly Phonics is proven to be successful with special needs children, especially those with learning difficulties and dyslexia. It can also be an important part of any program helping non-reading adults learn how to read and write in English.


Q: What are the ‘nuts and bolts’ of the Jolly Phonics program?

A: There are 5 basic skills that are taught:

1. Learning the letter sounds: Children are taught the 42 main letter sounds (not just the alphabet). Later they learn the alternative spellings of some sounds. For example, the /ai/ sound can also be /ay/ or /a___e/.

2.Learning letter formation: Many letters end with a joining tail for easier transfer to cursive writing. This type is called pre-cursive. But most materials are also available in print-type font as well.

3. Blending and Segmenting: Children are taught how to blend the sounds together and pull words apart into individual sounds for reading & writing.

4. Identifying sounds in words: Listening for the sounds in words gives children the best start for reading and writing. Jolly Phonics helps children learn that sounds are in beginning, middle and end of each word.

5. Tricky Words: These words have irregular spellings. Only part of the word may be tricky, for instance, the /ai/ in said.


Q: What is Jolly Grammar?

A: This is the 2nd phase and the follow up program to Jolly Phonics, building on the skills the children have learned. In a school setting, Jolly Grammar I is most commonly used in first grade classrooms, and Jolly Grammar II is used in second grade classrooms. Parts of speech, spelling, punctuation, enhanced writing skills, compound words, using a dictionary, regular/irregular past tense, conjugating verbs, plurals, comparatives and superlatives, prefixes and suffixes are skills that children learn through Jolly Grammar I and Jolly Grammar II.