Jolly Phonics

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Kids will have a jolly good time learning to read with this well-conceived program which originated in Great Britain. Used successfully with students as young as three, the methods and results achieved are impressive. The author of the program has identified five basic skills needed for reading:

  • Learning the letter sounds
  • Learning letter formation
  • Blending - for reading
  • Identifying the Sounds in Words
  • Tricky Words - irregular words

These are the skills taught, in tandem, throughout the program. Teaching is straight-forward, but fun. Children learn via visual, auditory, and tactile-kinesthetic modes - for instance, sky-writing and finger-tracing of letters. Letters are introduced in a seven-step order (non-alphabetical) that allows immediate decoding of many words. #1 - s, a, t, i, p, n; #2 - c/k, e, h, r, m, d; #3 - g, o, u, l, f, b; #4 - ai, j, oa, ie, ee, or; #5 - z, w, ng, v, oo (two sounds); #6 - y, x, ch, sh, th (two sounds); and #7 - qu, ou, oi, ue, er, ar. Entertaining videos introduce letter sounds and a movement for each letter "hooked" to a memorable story.

All program components are high quality and brightly colorful (activity books are black and white to allow for coloring), well designed and easy to use. The "program" can be used with a minimum of the Phonics Handbook or by utilizing some of or all the following components; each of which supplies a level of presentation, review, and reinforcement.

You might want to begin the program by viewing the Jolly Phonics DVD. If you have never taught a child to read, this will boost your confidence, as you watch various under-fives learning to read fluently and writing in full sentences. The DVD covers all 42 letter sounds through the adventures of Inky Mouse, Snake, and Bee. There is a spoken guide to all the letter sounds as well as a fun activity for each sound/story. Included is a one hour video - "Using Jolly Phonics" - which does a great job of conveying the philosophy, approach, and teaching methods employed in the program.

The Phonics Handbook, available in either print or pre-cursive version, provides a year's worth of detailed lesson plans that show you how to introduce the five skills and what form the implementation will take. Carefully thought out, it progresses systematically - introducing then honing each skill. Instructions for each presentation are detailed yet simple, straightforward and sensible. The bulk of the Phonics Handbook is all the reproducible material you will use in the program - Sound Sheets, Flash Card Sheets, Sound Book Sheets (children create a sound book as they go), Word Box Sheets (to make your own practice word boxes), String Joining Sheets (youll probably want to reproduce on cardstock if using string OR use as matching sheets), Matching Letters, Words and Pictures cards, Sentence Sticking (really fun exercises), Letter Clue Pictures (practice word families), Reading Games, Missing Sound Sheets, Homework Writing Sheets and Tricky Word Sheets. The last reproducible section provides sheets practicing Alternative Spellings of Vowels. After all of the clusters are introduced, children will learn alternate ways to write some of the sounds. For example, the ai sound is introduced in set 4 as one of the phonemes. During the last week, children learn two alternate (a_e and ay) ways to say ai. 218 pgs.

Finger Phonics Books are beefy board books corresponding to the seven step order. Each has print letter cut-outs that allow for finger-tracing - a satisfying tactile experience. A dot shows the origin point and arrows direct the flow - preparing your child for writing.

Jolly Songs is a collection of songs set to popular tunes for each of the 42 letter sounds. This set includes a CD and a print letter book. In addition to the songs sung by children in British English the CD also includes a spoken guide to all 42 letter sounds and alternative vowels. The 24-page book includes games and activities.

Jolly Stories Board Book covers all 42 letter sounds and follows Inky Mouse and friends through seven illustrated stories. A large letter (print letters) is embossed on the story spread for tactile recognition. Tips and advice for parents are included. 80 pgs.

Phonics Workbooks put newly acquired skills into practice with letter stroke and print letter practice. There is a 2-page spread (black and white) for each phoneme that recaps the story, motion, provides additional writing exercise (tracing the target letter) and introduces the upper-case symbol. Each 24-page workbook (there are seven - one for each group of letters) also includes a variety of recap activities at the end.

Activity Books (one for each set of letters) are colorful and provide sound sheets that coordinate with the story, providing a picture to color, a reminder of the action associated with the sound, lower-case letters to trace, and several words that begin with the sound. Two pages of stickers are also included, along with instructions. 36 pgs.

The Letter Sound Poster is a single sheet (23" x 33") with the 42 letter sounds (print version) arranged in their groups. Illustrations prompt the Jolly Phonics action and sound.

Student Books each feature all 42 letter sounds and are used for reinforcement and further skill development. They cover letter formation, listening for letter sounds in words, blending activities, and tricky words. The books build on each other; each introducing more tricky words as well as sound spellings and spelling patterns and even basic sentence structure. The Teacher Book accompanies these books and provides detailed lesson plans for each page of the Student Books. Student books - 48 pgs; Teacher's book - 184 pgs.

The Games CD is great for independent work and reinforcement. There are twenty activities with Inky Mouse and friends; three levels of play - easy, medium, or hard - with the choice of print or pre-cursive letter options during installation. The single user license CD is both PC and Mac compatible.

The Word Book is a reference book for teaching reading and writing skills such as blending spelling and dictation. It has lists of words made from the 42 phonemes, tricky words and words with consonant blends. 48 pgs

The Jolly Dictionary uses print letters and teaches students how to look up and understand words. A pronunciation guides is given for each of 6,000+ words. Easy to read definitions and age-appropriate words make this a useful resource for young students. 340 pgs.

There are several apps for smartphones and tablets available at either the Apple™ App Store or Google Play™ - Jolly Phonics Letter Sounds, Jolly Phonics Lessons, Jolly Songs and an app for teachers. Some are free and some require a small fee.

In summary, this would be an excellent program to begin with a K4 or K5 student that, in a relatively short time, would leave them reading (and writing) at about a 1.5 grade-level. It goes much deeper than most beginning phonics programs, though stops a little short of a K-2 program like Sing, Spell, Read and Write. Follow up with a phonetic reading and/or spelling program to cover the remaining phonograms. Its a good value for the materials and quality of instruction, is fun and effective, and gets them off to a great start.

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Jolly Phonics Workbooks 1-7 w/ Print Letters Item #: 029231
Grades: PreK-2
Retail: $22.75
Rainbow Price: $18.50

Finger Phonics Set of Books 1-7 w/ Print Ltrs Item #: 029223
Grades: PreK-2
Retail: $66.50
Rainbow Price: $51.95

Jolly Dictionary w/ Print Letters Item #: 035779
Grades: 1-3
Retail: $13.50
Rainbow Price: $10.95

Jolly Phonics Activity Books - Set of Books 1-7 (in print letters) Item #: 027136
Grades: K-2
Retail: $45.50
Rainbow Price: $35.95

Jolly Phonics DVD w/ Print Letters Item #: 029227
Grades: PreK-2
Retail: $37.50
Rainbow Price: $34.95

Jolly Stories Board Book (in print letters) Item #: 027183
Grades: K-2
Retail: $29.50
Rainbow Price: $27.50

Phonics Handbook w/ Print Letters Item #: 029240
Grades: PreK-2
Retail: $42.50
Rainbow Price: $33.50

Jolly Songs Book and CD (in print letters) Item #: 027180
Grades: K-2
Retail: $17.50
Rainbow Price: $16.95

Jolly Phonics Letter Sound Poster (in print letters) Item #: 027142
Grades: K-2
Rainbow Price: $5.95

Phonics Word Book w/ Print Letters Item #: 029243
Grades: PreK-2
Rainbow Price: $4.25

Jolly Phonics Game CD Item #: 027141
Grades: K-2
Retail: $59.95
Rainbow Price: $55.95

Jolly Phonics Student Book 1 Color Edition Item #: 066995
Grades: PreK-1
Rainbow Price: $4.50

Jolly Phonics Student Book 2 Color Edition Item #: 066996
Grades: PreK-1
Rainbow Price: $4.50

Jolly Phonics Student Book 3 Color Edition Item #: 066997
Grades: PreK-1
Rainbow Price: $4.50

Jolly Phonics Teacher's Book Color Edition Item #: 066998
Grades: PreK-1
Retail: $12.95
Rainbow Price: $12.75

Phonics Handbook (Precursive) Item #: 066999
Grades: PreK-1
Retail: $42.50
Rainbow Price: $39.95

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