For this review we used Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar by jollyliteracy.com and just2ducks LLC.
We received the following items:
We used mostly the Jolly Phonics Student Book 1, Jolly Songs, and the Jolly Phonics Teacher’s Book. I used this program with my 5 year old/Kindergartener.
He really enjoyed the Phonics book, however, he found it difficult to print in lowercase letters, as his writing is not on par with those skills as of yet. I would have liked to have seen the early books in capital letters, since those are easier letters to form. Due to this issue, we did the program mostly verbally, using Can Do Cubes (review to follow). The Jolly Songs were a fun little addition to help him remember the sounds the letters make. All my children enjoyed listening to this CD in the car, and guessing which letters the songs went to. Each Jolly Phonics page (in book 1) has a new letter sound, and review letter sounds. It has a color picture and action to go with the letter sound to help remember it (this also corresponds with the song). There are writing lines for the new letter and the review letters. There are color pictures to pick the pictures that start with the sound of the letter, and there are 4 words that contain that letter sound. The words have dots under each sound made by the letters, to guide in sounding out and blending the sounds. By the end of the book your child is writing and recognizing words.
I have a hard time with phonics books that require writing to read, my boys have always been advanced readers but not as advanced in writing. I have always improvised with programs, using stamps, magnets, etc… The Can Do Cubes were great in this aspect (more on them later). I have found that capital letters were a lot easier for their early writing stages, but many early writing books start with lower case, as does this book.
I do LOVE that they did not introduce the letters in ABC order, but in sound frequency order, so that they are learning to sound out words by the third page. In that same concept, letter s is the first letter, and was a VERY frustrating one for him to write, my 7 year old still struggles with S, so that was hard from the beginning.
Jolly Phonics book 2 introduces capital letters, it is more word based, as opposed to just letter sounds and combinations. Book 3 introduces bigger words and more writing, including sentences.
Jolly Grammar book 1 introduces a lot more dictation, focusing on spelling, as well as grammatical concepts, such as nouns, verbs and adjectives.
All the books include color pictures, to keep your child’s attention. There are multiple activities for each concept to include all types of learners.
I really wanted my 7 year old to try this books, but alas he is stubborn and was not interested (this is a constant struggle). I will definitely try again, however.
All in all, as far as a reading/phonics program goes, I think this is a solid program. The writing aspect will vary from child to child. If you have a child that is able to write at the same time they are ready to start reading, this is a perfect match! If you have kids like mine, who are ahead in one area, and not the other… it makes a program like this one difficult to implement exactly as it was designed.
The multi-sensory aspects of this program are definitely a strong point! I love that there are hand motions, and songs for each letter/letter combo. The writing (if your child is able) is also a great way to absorb it. I love that they are ‘reading’ by the 2nd page, which really helps build a child’s self esteem and confidence, which in turn encourages them to continue with the program and keep learning/reading!