Jolly Phonics

We use Jolly Phonics in St. Columba’s N.S. to teach reading and grammar as part of our literacy plan.

Jolly Phonics is a fun and child centered approach to teaching literacy through synthetic phonics. Jolly Phonics teaches the 42 main sounds of English, not just the 26 alphabet sounds. For each sound there is an action and song which helps the children remember the sound each letter makes.

For the first part of the school year, we focus on letter sounds rather than letter names (e.g. the letter n will be sounded as “nn” as in net rather that “en”). Once the children are comfortable with letter sounds, we introduce letter names. The reason for such focus on letter sounds is to encourage blending. Blending is the process of saying the individual sounds in a word and then running them together to make the word. An example of blending is sounding out d-o-g and making dog. Blending is a technique every child will need to learn and it improves with practice.

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


The actions for each sound may be found in the following PDF file:

Jolly Phonics Actions

Further information on Jolly Phonics may be found at