Adella completed her first year of pre-school last spring (which she loved), and will attend the same school for another year before entering kindergarten. We understand that the first year of pre-school is geared more towards social development and getting comfortable being in a classroom, away from Mimi ;o). However, Adella showed a lot of interest in reading and writing, especially during the last month of school (figures). We didn’t push her to do much at home, but we always made sure to read books everyday and occasionally talk about letters and the sounds they make. I was concerned with the coming summer that she would forget everything she learned in school – especially since she started catching onto writing towards the end of the school year. Luckily, a good friend of mine, Katie Kohn, returned from her year-long stay in Czech where she taught Jolly Phonics: a multi-sensory, systematic phonics system. Katie shares:
“Jolly Phonics teaches 42 sounds (not just the alphabet) including digraphs such as ai. ou, oi, ee….. Every sound has a story, song and action that goes with it. Jolly Phonics can be introduced at age 3 and goes through Kindergarten. It is then followed by Jolly Grammar. It was created in England and is used in numerous schools in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. It is also found in over 100 Countries! It is research based and best of all super fun!”
It sounded like a perfect way to keep Adella interested in learning to read and write over the summer. After checking out some of Katie’s materials, and seeing how much her own 4 year-old daughter loved it, I decided to give it a try. I purchased the “Jolly Stories” book, a few workbooks and the “Jolly Songs” CD. Jolly Phonics is not taught in alphabetical order; it is taught in 7 rows of 6 sounds, the first row is S,A, T, I, P, N. After learning just 6 sounds Adella started to blend and read words such as sat, pin, tip, pan, spin, snap, pat, nap….
MY 4 YEAR OLD IS READING!!
Adella is just as thrilled as we are, and her confidence soared after learning the first 6 sounds. She now begs me to do Jolly Phonics everyday! We usually work on three letters at a time; reading the story, singing the songs, and writing in her workbooks. Nolan enjoys singing the songs too, and Adella teaches him all of the actions that go along with them… perfect!
Jolly Learning (www.jollylearning.com) and Katie are hoping to bring the program into schools in California. They are offering 6 public schools a FREE pilot program which includes free materials and free training for teachers! The Jolly Phonics materials include: song books and cds, workbooks, story books, leveled readers, puppets, interactive whiteboard software, DVD’s, computer games CD, resource CD and more! It is intended for school use but the materials can also be purchased for in home use.
Katie is a California Credentialed Multiple subject teacher with MA Education. She has taught in the US, Czech Rep and Finland (for over 10 years).