Start Phonics at an Early Age and Get Ahead

Research shows starting reading with synthetic phonics from an early age helps boost reading throughout primary school.

Chigwell, United Kingdom, June 24, 2008 --( Jolly Phonics, the leading synthetic phonics programme used around the world,is encouraging children to begin learning phonics from an early age.

Jolly Phonics has just produced a CD Rom which is aimed at children from 3-4 years in age. It works on three levels - easy, medium and hard - with the easy level suitable for children of young ages. It contains the largest range of games for testing literacy available on CD-Rom. The CD-Rom has over 20 activities with each one teaching a particular literacy skill such as blending, sound recognition and writing. It can be used at schools or at home, with parental guidance.

While synthetic phonics is now used widely around the world to teach literacy, there is a still a debate on when it should be introduced. In the UK, a Government-backed review of literacy teaching came out in favour of phonics and led to the subsequent publication of the Government's Letters and Sounds guidance. But at preschool level, there is still much controversy about how young children should be when they start learning literacy skills.

Jolly Phonics believes that children can be introduced to letter sounds from an early age. Research shows that children who know their letter sounds by the age of four and three quarters are likely to have higher levels of literacy by age 7 and to maintain that advantage throughout primary school.

Chris Jolly, publisher of Jolly Learning, says: "There is still a lot of resistance to introducing literacy skills at the pre-school age, but all our experience from around the world shows that children are capable of understanding the building blocks of literacy from an early age. Moreover, they are interested in doing so. In Spain, for instance, children as young as 3 are being taught English literacy skills. We often underestimate children's abilities. Parents and those who work closely with children are best able to decide whether they are ready to learn and our job is to give them the tools to support whatever decision they make."

As well as the very young, there is also controversy about whether phonics is the best way to teach children with special needs. Jolly Phonics' experience shows that it is ideal for teaching those with learning difficulties. It has just launched a Resources CD aimed at getting teachers to create their own worksheets and classroom material. It includes several worksheets aimed specifically at children with learning difficulties. The CD contains over 150 images, dictation sentences, action pictures, sound pictures and other material.

Sara Wernham, author of the Resources CD and a former special needs teacher, says she has found that synthetic phonics can help children with speech problems. "Because children on a Synthetic Phonics programme spend time listening to, being made aware of, and practising making the sounds," she says, "they are, in a way, actually undergoing a very intensive form of speech therapy. They therefore often overcome any speech problems they might have had."

She adds that a Synthetic Phonic approach can also help to identify children who have difficulties pronouncing certain sounds. "Teachers and parents can be quite specific about exactly which sounds a child can, or cannot, pronounce. They are then able to target help for that child or to be very precise as to the problems if the speech therapy department becomes involved."

The Resources CD provides templates which are specifically geared to helping children with problems with particular sounds.

For more information, go to or contact Mandy Garner at Jolly Learning on 44 208 501 0405 or email

Jolly Learning
Mandy Garner
44 208 501 0405