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Aug 24, 2016

Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar A TOS Review

Giving Children a Flying Start

I recently was invited to review's phonics and grammar programs with Merrick.  Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar are components of a comprehensive six year program, beginning with the phonics books in Kindergarten and continuing from Grammar 1 through Grammar 5.  just2ducks LLC kindly sent us the Jolly Phonics series, Jolly Grammar 1, and Jolly Songs for our review.

Jolly Phonics Student Books (1-3) and Teacher's Book is for children in preschool and kindergarten.  The Jolly Phonics Teacher's Book covers all three of the Student Books.  The softcover Teacher's Book is 184 pages long.  Nearly thirty pages are devoted to the Jolly Phonics teaching method.  As with most TMs, I highly recommend taking the time to read this section.  Honestly, I rarely used to read these, but I've often found the information invaluable.  Sometimes, I've struggled with using a product only to find out the information is in the Teacher's Manual!

The balance of the Teacher's Book covers lesson plans for each page of the Student Books.  Each Student Book has a different color page border, so it's easy to locate the proper section of the Teacher's Book.  Students are taught all of the main letter sounds - 42 of them - and how they are written.  One new sound is introduced each day.

The Jolly Phonics program uses this progression.
  1. Learning Letter Sounds (letter names are introduced in Student Book 2)
  2. Learning Letter Formation (including proper pencil grip)
  3. Reading (also known as decoding or blending)
  4. Identifying Sounds in Words (independent writing begins in Student Book 2)
  5. Tricky Words (irregular spelling or advanced phonics)
The softcover Jolly Phonics Student Books are 48 pages each.  I like that lowercase letters are used almost exclusively in the first Student Book.  The uppercase are shown with the lowercase letters, but only the lowercase are written by the child.  Uppercase letters are written in book 2 along with plenty of lowercase practice.

Merrick is plugging along, learning new was to spell sounds and reading unfamiliar forms, like when e says /ee/, not /e/.  It's fun and challenging for him.

Phonemes are such an integral part of spelling and reading, when speech is unclear or a child struggles to pronounce words properly, there can be a real disconnect there.  I remember when Merrick worked on one of the earliest lessons, /s/.  He was supposed to circle the pictures with the /s/ sound.  He determined that "pider" does not start with /s/.  I think that was the first time I realized his speech would effect his other language work.

Jolly Grammar 1 Student Book and Teacher's Book is for first graders.  The Student Book has 73 pages of spelling and grammar activities as well as space in the back for 36 weeks of spelling tests. The Teacher's Book is 104 pages. Colors used to identify the parts of speech in these lessons are the same as those used in Montessori schools.  Parts of speech which are introduced in Jolly Grammar 1 are
  • nouns,
  • pronouns,
  • verbs,
  • adjectives,
  • and adverbs.
Students learn about making their writing easier to understand by using correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, and neat writing.  It's a pleasure to read stories incorporating those tools and making use of interesting words.  They will learn how to accomplish this in Jolly Grammar.

The Teacher's Book contains detailed lesson plans and teaching guidance for each activity page of the student book.  Jolly Grammar 1 is thirty-six weeks of learning in two, one-hour lessons each week.  That leaves three days each week to work on other areas of literacy on your own, covering comprehension, reading, and writing.  It's recommended that you try to incorporate learning that relates to what is being taught at that time in Jolly Grammar.  It looks like fun, you know, for grammar.  I'm really looking forward to using it with Merrick.

Jolly Songs is a book and music CD used to reinforce the phonemes as taught in the Jolly Phonics lessons.  The CD slips into a clear pocket on the outside of the book, making it terrific for car trips.  The songs reinforce the sounds, while the read along book reinforces the spelling.  The short songs are written to familiar tunes like Old McDonald and Skip to My Lou.  The hand motions from the Jolly Phonics program are included along with a colorful picture, all helping to make remembering easier.  The songs are sung by children and accompanied by music.  It's over 23 minutes long.  Some games and activities are in the back of the book. offers many complimentary products for use with Jolly Phonics.
  • readers
  • flashcards 
  • posters
  • CDs/DVDs
  • puppets and more!
One of those complimentary items is the Can Do Cubes for synthetic phonics.  I'll be reviewing those as well this week, but here's a sneak peek.  Bee-you-tee-ful...

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Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar Review

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