What is Jolly Grammar?

bookJolly Grammar is the next step after the first year of the Jolly Phonics programme. The Jolly Phonics Handbook introduces the first 42 mains sounds or the “simple” and concentrates on the basic skills for reading, writing and spelling such as blending (decoding) and segmenting (encoding) words.

By the end of the first year of the programme, or better said, on the completion of the Jolly Phonics Handbook, the majority of the children should be able to

1) Read and write the first 42 letter sounds.

2) Hold a pencil correctly with the tripod grip.

3) Read and write short, simple, decodable words such as “sit”, “rain”, “bat”, etc.

4) Be able to read and write some of the Tricky Words.

The Jolly Grammar Handbook 1 is the next teachers and pupil´s workbook and follows the same format as the first Handbook. There are 2 lesson plans per week that are introduced over the 36 weeks in a typical school year. One lesson plan per week continues to teach letter sounds and the second lesson each week is dedicated to introducing basic grammar concepts.

Jolly Grammar is a multi-sensory programme that uses colour and actions to help introduce basic grammar concepts and there are many simple, fun lesson plans that are both progressive and well structured.

the grammar handbookDuring the first few weeks of the Jolly Grammar 1 Handbook, many of the digraphs that were introduced in the first year are revised, giving the children the opportunity to embed and refine their knowledge. For struggling children, it gives them the chance to catch up with the rest of the class. For these purposes, daily, weekly and yearly revision is built into the programme.

The “alternative” sounds (or complex alphabetic code) are then slowly introduced throughout the rest of the year and for the following 6 years of the programme.

Alternative sounds are letters that can be read or written various different ways. For example, the first digraph that is introduced in the first year of the programme is /ai/. Initially, this knowledge is enough to begin with, however, we know that the English alphabetic code is not that simple and there are other ways that /ai/ can be written such as:

·      <ay> as in day

·      <a-e> as in plate

·      <ei> as in veil

·      <et> as in ballet

·      <ea> as in great

And so it goes. There are over 190 alternative sounds in the English language, which makes it one of the most difficult languages in the world to both teach and learn how to read and write. Specific and careful instruction is therefore a necessity for young learners to be able to decode harder and more complex words. The English language is very different from Spanish, which is a more or less transparent language, therefore and of course with some exceptions, Spanish is a relatively easy language to read and write as it is reversible and the spelling “rules” make sense.

If the children do not continue to practice the 42 basic sounds and are not introduced to the more complicated spelling “rules” that we have in the English language, many children forget over time the pronunciation of specific letter sounds and revert back to guessing words by their initial letter sound, shape or through memorization skills.

Some children are able to learn in this manner and will continue to read and write on their own with no problems and some children may have support or help at home with further instruction from educators at language schools or from parents. Some children however, will fall through the net. They will begin to struggle with reading and writing, which will most likely affect other areas of their schooling, especially in the bilingual sector, as various subjects are now taught in the L2 such as Science and art. This can also effect the children´s confidence when reading and writing, therefore creating motivational issues and a reluctance to read for pleasure, which will then result in a dip in language acquisition and comprehension, skills necessary for today´s ESL leaner.

One of the most important factors about Jolly Grammar is that it is easy to use, is child centered, has age-appropriate activity ideas and resources and it is fun. What is there not to love about that?

To find out more about Jolly Grammar or to do a CPD training course then please contact Beki Wilson at funphonicspain@yahoo.es.