Knowledge Corner

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Five Basic skills of Jolly Phonics

  1. Learning Letter sounds

    In Jolly Phonics the 42 main sounds of English are taught and not just the alphabet. The sounds are divided in seven groups(not alphabetically). In synthetic phonics some sounds are written with two letters, such as ee and or. These are called digraphs. Note that oo and th can make two different sounds, as in look and cool, this and thank.

    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 (train) is taught first, and then the alternative ae (gate) and ay (day) follow later.

  2. Learning Letter formation

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

    The pencil should be held in the “tripod” grip between the thumb and the first two fingers. A child needs to form each letter the correct way either in the air or on the board or even on the sand.

    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)

    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. Many of the letters (such as d and n) have a joining tail at the end (an 'exit' stroke) to make it easier to transfer into joined-up writing.

  3. Blending

    Blending is the process of saying the individual sounds in a word the running them together to make the word. For instance sounding out c-a-t and making cat. 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, d-o-g and h-e-n. 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 the sounds in words

    Identifying and listening for the sounds in words helps children to spell the word correctly and helps in improving spelling. After blending comes the segmenting of words. Blending involves pulling together individual sounds or syllables within words where as segmenting involves breaking words into individual sounds or syllables.

    BINGO games are played with students , where they match words with the group of words written on the board and even call out the blends like sl, pl, cr, tr while making words.

  5. Tricky Words

    Tricky words have irregular spellings which does not blend it with regular sounds , hence they learn it separately. As tricky words are divided into 6 colour coded groups. It is introduced after completing 2 groups and flash cards are shown to the children to remember it. Also sentences are framed by using each tricky word .Eg If we have to introduce 2 tricky words like ‘do’ and ‘me’ from first group , then make a sentence and write it on the board. Eg.’ Can you please do it for me’? and then children are asked to find out ‘do’ and ‘me’ from the sentence and start using it to make other sentences.

    Pupils are also encouraged to sound the parts of the word they know and supplying them the parts they do not. In the word ‘Pay” , we ask pupil to sound out the /p/ and would offer a new spelling ‘ay’ , hence we split them into graphemes.

    Multiple methods for learning tricky word spellings are taught by using Jolly Phonics, such as saying the word as it sounds, and using the Look, Cover, Write, Check method.