Newest Review: ... the book may be a bit confusing at first glance as the letters are not in the standard order and there are also extra sounds combined with ... more
What Do Ants, Tennis And Castanets Have In Common? - They're Teaching My Child To Read!
Jolly Songs: Jolly Phonics
Member Name: Rhiana
Jolly Songs: Jolly Phonics
Advantages: Excellent introduction to phonics, fun, easy . . . Brilliant !
Disadvantages: I would have liked a demonstration of pronunciation before each song
" a, a, ants on my arm,
a, a, ants on my arm,
a, a, ants on my arm,
Causing me alarm! "
(sung to the tune of skip to the loo, Action: pretend your fingers are ants crawling up your arm)
In September my daughter started reception class at school. Very quickly she started coming home singing amusing little songs with a letter in them, only in a lot of cases it was a different pronunciation to how I had taught her.
~ " It's not Luh Mammy, it's lll " ~
I'd made the mistake of teaching the alphabet how I remembered learning it 28 years ago. However at a meeting held by the school last week, I, along with other parents who had also made this mistake, learned how the children actually learn phonics and how they are pronounced. It made sense actually, I'd been putting in an extra sound that just wasn't there, I mean it's 'lll-amp' not 'luh-amp' right?
I had noticed previously that although my daughter could name any letter I pointed to, she was having difficulty relating it to a word. For instance we would play I spy and I may say 'something beggining with Muh' and she'd come out with anything. I would try saying 'Muh, Muh, Muh....' to give her a clue, and she would reply 'Muh, Muh, Muh ...Grass! " or something similar. I put it down to her still only being four and not being at that stage yet. Now though I realise it was the pronunciation I'd actually gave her that was causing her confusion. After just a month at school using the 'Jolly Phonics' system my daughter can now tell me what any word begins with. Now something beginning with 'Mmm' is met with Mirror, Moon, and Mummy!
~ Jolly Songs ~
At the school there was a display showing the different equipment used to teach the children. Most of us parents were most interested in the Jolly Songs book and CD, as we'd heard our little one's singing the little ditties at home. The teacher told us that the book could be bought at the Early Learning Centre, and so I called in to buy it for home use.
" When I watch a tennis game,
When I watch a tennis game,
My head goes back and forth"
(Sung to the tune of The Muffin Man, Action: turn head side to side along with the song)
Jolly Songs is a 24 page, A4 sized book. It doesn't look much at first, being quite flimsy and only having a thin card cover. On the front a CD is attached in a plastic wallet. I paid £9 for Jolly Songs at ELC, however I have since found it cheaper on Amazon for £6 new, or from £3 used.
At the front there is no introduction or notes to parents, it goes right into the rhymes. Each page has 2 rhymes dedicated to a letter, a note telling you what tune it is sung to and a suggested action. There is also a humorous colour illustration alongside each song.
My daughter recognised the book immediately and got very excited about showing me the Rhymes they have learned at school, and was also keen to learn the ones she hadn't already got to. What I found a little annoying is that in the book there is no instruction on the correct pronunciation at all, and you need to listen to the CD along with the book to find out. I, of course, told her the wrong pronunciation for one letter and only realised when we listened to the CD.
The CD also doesn't have an introduction and goes straight in to the rhymes. Again I thought it might be useful to have a little demonstration at the beginning of each rhyme, but unfortunately this can only be found at the end of the CD. The songs are sung by children and are lively and clear, easy to listen to and well paced to sing along to. They do move from one to the next rather quickly, and so it is a good idea to pause the CD as you look at the next rhyme and discuss the letter or turn the page.
" If you're strong and you know it say 'ng',
If you're strong and you know it say 'ng'
if you're strong and you know it and you really want to show it,
if you're strong and you know it say 'ng'
(sung to the tune of if you're happy and you know it, Action: pretend to lift a weight when you say 'ng')
The book covers all letters A-Z and then goes onto to other sounds made by letters (which I am sure have a name, I just don't know it!), such a sh, ch, ng, and long vowels like ai, oa, ue. As my daughter hasn't reached this stage at school yet we didn't look into these in too much detail, however we did enjoy the songs and my daughter impressed me later on, by pointing to the shampoo bottle and saying sh, sh, shampoo!
~ My opinion ~
When my daughter started coming home from school singing these little songs and correcting my letter pronunciation I was really impressed. After buying Jolly Songs and other Jolly Phonics products, I am even more impressed.
It seems to me that by singing these little rhymes while looking at the book, my daughter is learning without even realising it. The rhymes are short and fun, and as they are sung to already familiar rhymes are easy to pick up. I like how each song has an action and really think this helps my daughter remember each letter and it's sound. She knows 'rrr' (R) because in the rhyme relating to it she shakes her head like a dog pulling at a rope. I of course had taught her 'ruh', which didn't really make much sense now I look at it. 'Ruh-o-puh-e' anyone? (Rope)
I can see how quickly her learning is coming on already, and this weekend she managed to read her first few words by sounding them out using the sounds in the Jolly Songs, much easier than my way.
My daughter also really likes listening to the Cd too, and I know other mums, who have also bought it for home use, say the same. My friend's little boy is in my daughter's class and they listen to it in the car. She has found her younger child is also picking the songs and sounds up really quickly. Like me she had being teaching "Luh, Muh, Tuh". Without even knowing it and while having fun, her three year old is going to be prepared for starting reception next year.
I have also bought some Jolly Phonics puzzles and games, and they all work well with each other. In a game of Phonics Lotto, my daughter sang the rhyme she knew related to the letter to work out how it should sound. They aren't cheap to buy, but are very good quality and in my opinion, if they help your child to learn in a fun and enjoyable way, are worth it.
My only criticism of the Jolly Songs book and CD is that I would have liked a little introduction to parents/adults and some clear descriptions of the correct pronunciation both in the book and on the CD. You can skip to the end of the CD between songs to find a demonstration, but it seems a lot of fuss to me and a brief introduction before each one would make more sense. I would have also liked to have seen a better quality cover on the book, especially given the price.
Overall Jolly Songs and Jolly Phonics in general, both really impressed me. My only regret is that I wasn't aware of them earlier as I think Jolly Songs would be a useful and fun introduction to letters for any children as soon as they are able to sing along with nursery rhymes. The focus is on enjoying the songs and not learning the letters; that seems to just happen naturally with no pressure at all.
Just be careful however, you will also find yourself singing the songs under your breath, not cool when your alone in the supermarket!
" We are clicking castanets,
c, c, c
We are clicking castanets,
c, c, c
We are clicking castanets, clicking castanets,
We are clicking castanets,
(Sung to the tune of She'll Be Coming Round The Mountain. Action: Pretend you are playing castanets)
Summary: Phonics can be Fun x
More reviews in the field of Junior Book
- Sticky situation makes a great family read
- Chamber of secrets a superb sequel
- Probably the best Potter book of them all
- Another cracker in the Harry Potter Series
- Three Lovely Stories
- Another book with Fibonacci numbers.
- The not so secret code of creation
- Spot Bakes a Cake - perfect for any Spot lover!