Jolly Phonics

Find out what happened at O’Sullivan Beach Primary School

– Jolly Phonics 2013

Jolly Phonics introduces all the letter sounds, with an action, song, and storyline for each of the 42 sounds of English.logo_jollyphonicslarge


  • It is an enjoyable, multi-sensory program for teaching the learner how to ‘crack the code’ of English and be able to successfully read and write for meaning.
  • This program is typically used for a full year in both preschool and kindergarten.
  • Very suitable for parents to use when home schooling or just teaching their kids to read and write.
  • Jolly Phonics easily and quickly engages the imagination of young minds, leading to quick and productive learning. Letter sounds, blending & segmenting, identifying sounds in words, learning correct letter formation, and “tricky words” (words that cannot be sounded out using Jolly Phonics sounds) – are the 5 key components of the program.
  • Jolly Phonics enables early learners to become successful readers and writers.
  • The program can be used alone or in conjunction with other literacy programs already in place.

Jolly Phonics provides a thorough foundation for reading and writing.  It teaches the letter sounds in an enjoyable, multi-sensory way, and enables children to use them to read and write words.


The Jolly Songs are short and explicit ‘piggy-back songs’. Each sound is isolated within the verse. They make great transition songs!


Jolly Songs by Laurie Fyke and Kerrie Sinclair
ISBN-10: 1844140695
ISBN-13: 978-1844140695
Sample songs:
/s / – tune: The Farmer in the Dell

The snake is in the grass.
The snake is in the grass.
/s/-/s/-/s/-/s/-/s/-/s/-/s /
The snake is in the grass.

/a / – tune: Skip to My Lou

/a/- /a/, ants on my arm,
/a/- /a/, ants on my arm,
/a/- /a/, ants on my arm,
They’re causing me alarm.

/p/ – tune: The Wheels on the Bus

Puff out the candles
On the pink pig cake.
/p/-/p/-/p/, /p/-/p/-/p/.
Puff out the candles
On the pink pig cake.
Puff! Puff! Puff!


Click Below To Hear Samples:


A 3 year old can sing the songs! The children isolate the sound without identifying the task. Brain connections are being established.

Using the sounds of our language young children are exposed to hearing a sequence of sounds that create a word (e.g. /s/-/t/-/o/-/p/ … all of the sounds blended together create the word “stop”). Children also learn to identify sounds in words (e.g. run … the sounds are /r/-/u/-/n/). The next steps are to begin to connect the sound to the printed letter on each page of the song book and then to print the letter(s) that make the sound.

See it. Say it. Print it.

Once the sound letter connection has been firmly established, children blend familiar sounds to read words in the reading process and segment sounds they hear to record words in the writing process.

Add tricky words and soon the children are reading and writing with increased fluency and greater comprehension, using sounds they have been taught!



Jolly Grammar is the next stage, after the teaching of Jolly Phonics.

  • Jolly Grammar 1 provides 36 explicit lessons to teach a wide range of language forms including: the parts of speech; plurals – regular and irregular; punctuation; and simple verb tenses… past, present, and future. 36 lessons are also provided to teach a wide range of spelling rules, review of the 42 sounds of our language and alternate spellings of sounds.
  • This program is designed to take just part of the time devoted to English, in providing the ‘language’ rather than the ‘literature’ element. For the ‘literature’ element, children will read storybooks, such as the Jolly Readers.
  • Jolly Grammar 2 follows a similar format.

Together with Jolly Phonics, they provide a course for the first four years of primary instruction developing the reading and writing skills required for greater comprehension, proficiency and enjoyment of our language.



Overview of Jolly Phonics by Sue Lloyd:

Jolly Phonics, a synthetic (sounding out all-through-the-word), phonics program, provides a thorough foundation for reading and writing. It teaches 42 sounds in a multi-sensory, fun way that enables children to utilize them to read and write words. Jolly Phonics is effective as a stand-alone program but also fits in well with broader based literacy programs. All of the material is suitable for use in school. Much of it is also well suited to use at home.
The five basic skills emphasized in Jolly Phonics are:

1. Learning the letter sounds
2. Learning letter formation
3. Blending
4. Identifying sounds in words
5. Spelling irregular or `tricky’ words (said, was, the etc.).

Independent studies find that after one year, children taught with Jolly Phonics have an average reading age that is twelve months ahead of their chronological age. Their spelling age is usually slightly further ahead. Boys typically do as well as girls

1. Learning the Letter Sounds

In Jolly Phonics the 42 main sounds of English are taught, not just the alphabet. The sounds are in seven groups. Some sounds are written with two letters, such as ee and or. These are called digraphs. Note that oo and th can each make two different sounds, as in book and moon, that and three. To distinguish between the two sounds, these digraphs are represented in two forms. This is shown below.

Each sound has an action which helps children remember the letter(s) that represent it. As a child progresses you can point to the letters and see how quickly they can do the action and say the sound. One letter sound can be taught each day. As a child becomes more confident, the actions are no longer necessary.

Children should learn each letter by its sound, not its name. For instance, the letter a should be called a (as in ant) not ai (as in aim). Similarly, the letter n should be nn (as in net), not en. This will help in blending. The names of each letter can follow later.

The letters have not been introduced in alphabetical order. The first group (s, a, t, i, p, n) has been chosen because they make more simple three-letter words than any other six letters. The letters b and d are introduced in different groups to avoid confusion.

Sounds that have more than one way of being written are initially taught in one form only. For example, the sound ai (rain) is taught first, and then the alternatives a-e (gate) and ay (day) follow later.

2. Learning Letter Formation

It is very important that a child holds their pencil in the correct way.

The pencil should be held in the ‘tripod’ grip between the thumb and 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.

A child needs to form each letter the correct way. The letter c is introduced in the early stages as this forms the basic shape of some other letters, such as d. Particular problems to look for are:

  • the o (the pencil stroke must be anti-clockwise, not clockwise),
  • d (the pencil starts in the middle, not the top),
  • m and n (there must be an initial downstroke, or the letter m looks like the McDonald’s arches).

The Jolly Phonics Videos and Finger Phonics books show the correct formation of each letter. A good guide is to remember that no letters start on the line. In time a child will need to learn joined-up (cursive) writing. It helps the fluency of writing and improves spelling. When words are written in one movement it is easier to remember the spelling correctly.

3. Blending

Blending is the process of saying the individual sounds in a word and then running them together to make the word. For instance sounding out d-o-g and making dog. It is a technique every child will need to learn, and it improves with practice. To start with you should sound out the word and see if a child can hear it, giving the answer if necessary. Some children take longer than others to hear this. The sounds must be said quickly to hear the word. It is easier if the first sound is said slightly louder. Try little and often with words like b-u-s, t-o-p, c-a-t and h-e-n. There are lists of suitable words in The Phonics Handbook and the Jolly Phonics Word Book.

Remember that some sounds (digraphs) are represented by two letters, such as sh. Children should sound out the digraph (sh), not the individual letters (s-h). With practice they will be able to blend the digraph as one sound in a word. So, a word like rain should be sounded out r-ai-n, and feet as f-ee-t. This is difficult to begin with and takes practice. The Jolly Phonics Regular Word Blending Cards can be used in class to improve this skill.

You will find it helpful to be able to distinguish between a blend (such as st) and a digraph (such as sh). In a blend the two sounds, s and t can each be heard. In a digraph this is not so. Compare mishap (where both the s and h are sounded) and midship (which has the quite separate sh sound). When sounding out a blend, encourage children to say the two sounds as one unit, so fl-a-g not f-l-a-g. This will lead to greater fluency when reading.

Some words in English have an irregular spelling and cannot be read by blending, such as said, was and one. Unfortunately, many of these are common words. The irregular parts have to be remembered. These are called the ‘tricky words’.

4. Identifying Sounds in Words

The easiest way to know how to spell a word is to listen for the sounds in that word. Even with the tricky words an understanding of letter sounds can help.

Start by having your child listen for the first sound in a word. Games like I-Spy are ideal for this. Next try listening for the end sounds, as the middle sound of a word is the hardest to hear.

Begin with simple three letter words such as cat or hot. A good idea is to say a word and tap out the sounds. Three taps means three sounds. Say each sound as you tap. Take care with digraphs. The word fish, for instance, has four letters but only three sounds, f-i-sh.

5. Spelling the Tricky Words

There are several ways of learning tricky spellings:

1) Look, Cover, Write and Check. Look at the word to see which bit is tricky. Ask the child to try writing the word in the air saying the letters. Cover the word over and see if the child can write it correctly. Check to make sure.

2) Say it as it sounds. Say the word so each sound is heard. For instance, the word was is said as ‘wass’, to rhyme with mass, the word Monday is said as ‘Mon-day’.

3) Mnemonics. The initial letter of each word in a saying gives the correct spelling of a word. For instance, laugh – Laugh At Ugly Goat’s Hair.

4) Using joined-up writing also improves spelling.


Don’t miss out on an excellent educational opportunity!

logo_mouse Learn more about synthetic phonics and how to make learning to read an write a natural process.  

Check out this nonprofit educational website created by Sue Lloyd! 

This website is designed to provide teachers, parents and interested adults with an understanding of synthetic phonics, the reasons why some children find learning to read difficult and what can be done about it.

Teaching Children to Read and Write by Sue Lloyd




Visit the official Jolly Learning Website to:

Get Teacher Resources
Click the underlined link to connect to the site.

Learn About the Authors
Find out more about Sue Lloyd and Sara Wernham.

Jolly Phonics Presentations
Jolly Phonics Parent Presentation – Ideal for teachers to use at Jolly Phonics parent evenings.
Jolly Phonics Teacher Presentation – Suitable for teachers requiring a presentation to give to teachers on Jolly Phonics.
Jolly Grammar Teacher Presentation – Ideal for teachers requiring a presentation on Jolly Grammar to give to teachers.

Hear the Audio
Listen to the audio track to hear the sounds of our language.

Get Free Parent Teacher Guides
Download free copies of Parent Teacher Guides for Jolly Phonics.

Read Research
Read evidence-based research studies, and case studies.

Check out:  Connections to the Common Core 

Check out the new Catalog!

Laurie Fyke is a Certified logo_jollyphonicslarge Professional Trainer

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s