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What are the Jolly Phonics Actions?

Each new letter sound in the Jolly Phonics reading scheme has a new action. These actions were developed to help your child remember the letter sounds. There are 42 Jolly Phonics letter sounds, which are split into seven sets and taught in this specific order as shown on the Jolly Phonics Wall Frieze. Each letter sound also has its own song Jolly Song. Children love learning the new songs which really help them recall the letter sounds.

Many schools will teach reading through the Jolly Phonics scheme, so it is recommended you practise the sounds and actions at home so you can reinforce what your child is learning at school. Be sure to check the phonics scheme your child's school uses first, as two different methods of learning could cause confusion with spelling and reading. There are also a set of seven Finger Phonics Books which introduce each letter sound though a story which children really enjoy. 

Below are a description of the actions for each letter sound in the Jolly Phonics scheme, these are great for visual and kinaesthetic learners. Your child will enjoy hearing the letter sound in the song lyrics and learning the action. 

Jolly Phonics Actions


Weave hand in an s shape, like a snake, and say ssssss


Wiggle fingers above elbow as if ants crawling on you and say a, a, a.


Turn head from side to side as if watching tennis and say t, t, t.


Pretend to be a mouse by wriggling fingers at end of nose and squeak i, i, i.


Pretend to puff out candles and say p, p, p.


Make a noise, as if you are a plane - hold arms out and say nnnnnn.

c k

Raise hands and snap fingers as if playing castanets and say ck, ck, ck.


Pretend to tap an egg on the side of a pan and crack it into the pan, saying eh, eh, eh.


Hold hand in front of mouth panting as if you are out of breath and say h, h, h.

Pretend to be a puppy holding a piece of rag, shaking head from side to side, and say rrrrrr.

Rub tummy as if seeing tasty food and say mmmmmm.


Beat hands up and down as if playing a drum and say d, d, d.


Spiral hand down, as if water going down the drain, and say g, g, g.


Pretend to turn light switch on and off and say o, o; o, o


Pretend to be putting up an umbrella and say u, u, u.


Pretend to lick a lollipop and say l l l l l l.


Let hands gently come together as if toy fish deflating, and say f f f f f f.


Pretend to hit a ball with a bat and say b, b, b.


Cup hand over ear and say ai, ai, ai.


Pretend to wobble on a plate and say j, j, j.


Bring hand over mouth as if you have done something wrong and say oh!


Stand to attention and salute, saying ie ie.

ee  or

Put hands on head as if ears on a donkey and say eeyore, eeyore.


Put arms out at sides and pretend to be a bee, saying zzzzzz.


Blow on to open hand, as if you are the wind, and say wh, wh, wh.


Imagine you are a weightlifter, and pretend to lift a heavy weight above your head, saying ng...


Pretend to be holding the steering wheel of a van and say vvvvvv.

oo oo

Move head back and forth as if it is the cuckoo in a cuckoo clock,

saying u, oo; u, oo. (Little and long oo.)


Pretend to be eating a yogurt and say y, y, y.


Pretend to take an x-ray of someone with an x-ray gun and say ks, ks, ks.


Move arms at sides as if you are a train and say ch, ch, ch.


Place index finger over lips and say shshsh.

th th

Pretend to be naughty clowns and stick out tongue a little for the th,

and further for the th sound (this and thumb).


Make a duck's beak with your hands and say qu, qu, qu.


Pretend your finger is a needle and prick thumb saying ou, ou, ou.


Cup hands around mouth and shout to another boat saying oi! ship ahoy!


Point to people around you and say you, you, you.


Roll hands over each other like a mixer and say ererer.


Open mouth wide and say ah. (UK English) Flap hands as if a seal,

and say ar, ar, ar. (US English)

*Jolly Phonics is a reading and writing scheme which was developed by Sue Lloyd and Sara Wernham.

Image courtesy of www.freedigitalphotos.net



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