Jolly Phonics and CPD

This weekend I finally managed to attend a Jolly Phonics training session for practitioners.

I say finally because it was my 3rd time booking it; a long winter and sick children meant it took several months, but I finally got there and am I glad I did!

So what is Jolly Phonics?

Founded in 1987, basically it is a synthetic phonics method of teaching the letter sounds in a way that is fun and multi-sensory, enabling children to become fluent readers.

Jolly Phonics?

Jolly Phonics is a fun and child centred approach to teaching literacy through synthetic phonics. With actions for each of the 42 letter sounds, the multi-sensory method is very motivating for children and teachers, who can see their students achieve. The letter sounds are split into seven groups as shown below.

Letter Sound Order

The sounds are taught in a specific order (not alphabetically). This enables children to begin building words as early as possible.


How does Jolly Phonics work?

Using a synthetic phonics approach, Jolly Phonics teaches children the five key skills for reading and writing. The programme continues through school enabling the teaching of essential grammar, spelling and punctuation skills.

The five skills taught in Jolly Phonics

  1. Learning the letter sounds – Children are taught the 42 main letter sounds.  This includes sounds as well as digraphs such as sh, the, ai and ue.

  2. Learning letter formation – using different multi-sensory methods, children learn how to form and write letters.

  3. Blending – Children are taught how to blend sounds together to read and write new words.

  4. Identifying the sounds in words (segmenting) – Listening for the sounds in words gives children the best start for improving spelling.

  5. Tricky words – Have irregular spellings and children learn these separately

Are you wondering what all this has to do with Sensory Play?

Well over the years my passion for and in Early Years Care and Education has grown and developed, I have seen the good, they’d and the ugly in practice and policy. As All Of Me Sensory grows, I strive to find balance between facilitating child development at their own rate and meeting statutory requirements in care and education.

  • Basically how to teach what must be taught without teaching?

  • Can children truly learn through play in all areas?

  • Are there exceptions, when young children should be taught something in a more structured and formal way?

  • Because a young child (or some children)  have the capacity to engage in structured learning, should they?

Current trends in Early Years include phrases such as ‘free play’, ‘learning through play’, ‘invitations and provocations to learn’, ‘child-led’, etc.

These are increasingly supported by research and ever so slowly reflected in training and policy; and importantly, have influenced the direction of my own practice.

So how does this work logistically? How can you practicably facilitate phonetic teaching in a meaningful, sensorial way to the individual child, especially within a group?

Well as I discovered,  you can!

The whole premise of Jolly Phonic learning is that it is multi sensory and child led. The beauty of the synthesised system is that because it is so structured, it is actually  much easier for children to learn at their own rate.

To build a strong foundation in learning, we must ensure our child’s sensory systems are developed properly for cognitive development and sensory integration. Read more here

What sensory activities can be used to support Jolly Phonics?

The Phonics programme uses story, sound and action and song/ jingle to teach letter sound recognition. 

Games include object basket, I spy, finger games and puppets.

Various mark making resources and activities including magnetic boards, white boards, work books, air writing, sand/ salt trays.

These can be done one-to-one, in small or large groups, also can be supported in peer groups to work together and independently.

These are just some of the ways that the programme can be delivered whilst delivering stimulating visual, auditory and tactile systems to support learning.

I am excited about this and looking forward to working with preschool groups and foundation stage classes to support the beginning of their literacy development through Phonics in a multi sensory way.

I already have lots of messy activities to support letter and sound recognition, ltos of games and ways to incorporate puppets etc in a fun, engaging and stimulating way.

To start your own Jolly Phonics journey click the link below for details of training in Northern Ireland

Training in Northern Ireland 

For more information on Jolly Phonics click here. 

For your own Jolly Phonics resources click here  

Or here on Amazon (affiliate link below)

Jolly Phonics Puppets, Set of All 3 (Jolly Phonics) (Toy) – Common“>Puppets

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