Jolly Phonics Extra


About Jolly Phonics Extra

Jolly Phonics Extra gives extra help for children learning to read. It takes innovation in literacy teaching to a new level, being highly effective as a result. There are two aspects to this:


  1. A talking pen, which says the letter sounds, the words, and sentences on a page. It also gives the names of many objects touched!
  2. The text, in the reading books, is given twice, the second time in a phonically regular form, to help children when they get stuck.

Jolly Phonics Extra Personal is currently just available in British English. It has the flexibility to be used in different ways:

For children at home

Jolly Phonics Extra is ideal for learning to read English at home, and to get ahead. This is especially so if English is not the child’s first language. This is because:

  • The talking pen models each letter sound for the child, and models blending for reading (so sh-ee-p makes sheep). Some of the relationships between letters and sounds are different in English from other languages. This helps your child get them right, from early on. Your child will be amazed, and motivated, by the talking pen!
  • The text is given twice, the second time in a phonically regular form. This overcomes the spelling irregularities of English. With the second text, your child is given a way to sound out and blend each word, so they do not need to get stuck in reading new words.
  • The core methodology in Jolly Phonics (synthetic phonics) is recognised as being essential for children learning to read. Rather than just being taught the alphabet, and to memorise words, children learn all the letter sounds of English, and how to use them to read new words.

Jolly Phonics Extra comes in a ‘personal edition’ kit containing:

  • Talking pen (and screwdriver for when replacing the two AAA batteries)
  • Letter Sounds book
  • Flash Cards, 69 in total
  • Readers, Level 1 (red), 18 different titles
  • Readers, Level 2 (red), 18 different titles
  • Readers, Level 3 (red), 18 different titles

Vocabulary is also developed, as the talking pen names many objects in pictures when they are touched. The talking pen responds to all the books and flashcards.

For children starting school

Jolly Phonics Extra is excellent for children starting school. It extends the regular use of Jolly Phonics:

  • Children readily learn the 12 new symbols, which helps them understand they are separate sounds. They understand that these new symbols, and the extra text, is just to help them. They use them to read new words that are difficult. They also know not to write with the new symbols.
  • Children like using the talking pen together, in break times. They like to test each other, and use the pen to give the answer.

Jolly Phonics Extra has been piloted in Reception classes in schools in Nottinghamshire. This pilot is now being made open for other schools to join. For more information please contact Brad Peterson: to find out more!

For mixed ages, and older children – Jolly Buddies

When children have had some years of struggling to learn to read they can become demotivated. They may also feel that the material given to them is ‘childish’.

Jolly Buddies is a highly effective solution to these issues. It pairs an older child with a younger one, both of whom are behind. The older one is asked to help the younger one, and given control over the material. The talking pen amazes the children. They want to use it, and see what it responds to. To any question of childishness, the older child is told that the material is not for them, but for the younger child – which makes it all right. The older child also has the respect of the younger child, which again motivates them to being engaged and learning.

It is recommended that the use of Jolly Buddies is intensive, and time-limited, so the children make swift progress. Ideally, sessions should be every school day for a term (12 weeks), after which a new group of children should start. This time limit encourages the children to use the flash cards and books at a pace.

“The three year 6 children are genuinely very impressed with Jolly Phonics Extra. It has given them a real sense of responsibility and involvement towards supporting the six year 1 pupils.”