January 26, 2021

How is Jolly Phonics different from Regular Phonics?

Do you remember learning English (or any language as a matter of fact ) when you were a child?

Learning to say words while learning the English alphabet.

Phonics is the method our teachers used to teach us how to read and write and they still do. Phonics by definition is the method of teaching to read and pronounce words by learning the phonetic value of letters, letter groups, and especially syllables.

As you can see phonics is a vital part of our education system and educators are now working on better ways to introduce phonics to children. One such method is called Jolly Phonics.

Now if you are a parent who is looking forward to sending their child to learn the English language, you might have heard of Jolly phonics and now you are probably very confused about the whole concept of Phonics and Jolly phonics. You might be thinking…

  • What is Jolly Phonics?
  • How many types of Phonics are there?
  • How are they different?
  • How is Jolly phonics different?

Let us demystify things for you. First, let’s understand,

The 4 Major types of phonics

Synthetic Phonics

Also called Explicit phonics, Blended phonics. In this method, the students are first taught the letter sounds and after that, they are taught to blend these sounds to form whole words. Blending is the essence of synthetic phonics. This method is more structured and is backed by a lot of research.

Analytical Phonics

Analytical phonics on the other hand stats at the word level. Students are first taught the whole word and then they are taught to analyze the word and find out the different letter sounds in the word. In this method, blending and building are not taught. Also called Implicit phonics, this is more of a hit and miss approach and is less structured.

Analogy Phonics

Analogy phonics is a branch of Analytic phonics in which focuses on teaching similar/ analogous words to students to build their vocabulary. This clustering of words helps students to learn and remember the words. However, since it’s a type of analytical phonics, it is very unstructured.

Embedded phonics

Embedded phonics focuses on teaching phonics in authentic texts. In this, the teacher reads a book and then teaches the students as the words come along. This is the most unstructured form of phonics and can lead to a lot of confusion. However, it is good for practising reading and finding weak spots.

As you can see these approaches are very different from each other. Over the course of years, it has been discovered that Synthetics phonics yields better results when it comes to teaching any language.

The 4 types of phonics explained

Considering this it is not a big surprise that synthetics phonics is adopted by most trainers and teachers to teach languages. Now that we have understood the different types of phonics, let’s understand what is Jolly Phonics.

Jolly Phonics

Jolly Phonics is a type of Synthetic phonics. But How is it different?

It’s right there in the name. It is ‘Jolly”. Jolly Phonics is a fun and interactive method of teaching a language through synthetic phonics. Used to teach language to small children, this child-centric approach uses tools such as poems, nursery rhymes and fun actions to teach the language.

In English, there are 26 letters and 42 letter sounds. Jolly Phonics teaches these 42 letter sounds to the children by using the interactive tools. In Jolly Phonics, Each Letter has a letter sound, fun action and song or rhyme associated with it. There may even be a story to go with each sound. So by learning the letter sounds first the children develop their base.

For example-

‘A’ letter has a letter sound of Aaa. To teach this letter sound the teachers use the Action of Pretending that ants are crawling up your arm. The poem/ song goes something like-

“A! A! Ants on my arm.
A! A! Ants on my arm
They are causing me alarm”

These interactive tools and fun teaching methods associated with jolly phonics is what led to the widespread popularity of the method. What makes jolly phones effective is the fact that these letters’ sounds are not taught in alphabetical order.

The 42 sounds are divided into 7 groups with 6 sounds in each group. These groups are made in such a way that children can get the most out of the alphabetical sounds. These sounds are taught group-wise so that children can learn and use them easily.

While learning, students work on 5 Key skills. These skills form the basis of learning of the language.

These skills are:-
1. Learning the letter sounds
2. Learning letter Formation
3. Blending
4. Segmenting
5. Tricky words.

Click here to learn more about jolly phonics and how it works


As you can see, there are various branches of Phonics out there. Jolly phonics is just a branch of Synthetic phonics. However, if you are looking forward to sending your little one to learn a language, I bet by now you know what path to take. Jolly Phonics is one of the best methods when it comes to teaching children as it is a fun and interactive method, specifically designed for children.

If you are looking for Phonics training for your child or looking to become a trainer yourself you can click here