Jolly Phonics

Kids will have a jolly good time learning to read with this well-constructed program which originated in Great Britain. Used successfully with students as young as three, the methods and results achieved are impressive. Five skills are taught, in tandem, throughout the program: learning letter sounds; learning letter formation; blending; identifying the sounds in words, and tricky words (irregular words). 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. All program components are high quality, well-designed, easy to use, and most are brightly colorful. The "program" can be used with a minimum of the black/white, reproducible Phonics Handbook OR by utilizing some or all the other course components.

The Phonics Handbook provides a year's worth of detailed lesson plans. Carefully thought out, it progresses systematically - introducing then honing each skill. Instructions for each presentation are 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 (you'll 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, Tricky Word Sheets, and Alternative Spellings of Vowels. The Phonics Handbook is available in either a print letter or precursive version. Other Jolly Phonics material is all print letters. 218 pgs.

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 as well as reduced copies of the student pages. Material in the Student Books and the Teacher Books is identical to the material in the Phonics Handbook except that ithey are full-color and non-reproducible. Student books 48 pgs; Teacher's book 184 pgs.

Letter introduction in this series is a bit unusual and in this order. #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. The seven books in the Finger Phonics series as well as the Activity Books correspond to these number groupings of lettters. The Orange (Level 0; 21 small books) set of Decodable Readers provides three beginning readers for each of these groups. Entertaining videos introduce letter sounds and a movement for each letter is "hooked" to a memorable story.

There are several apps for smartphones and tablets available at 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 Jolly Grammar for a solid grammar and spelling program that reviews and expands the phonics instruction and provides excellent language arts instruction.

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