Practice makes perfect
The Jolly Phonics system, which I have been using since it was suggested by father of two Chris Drew, is helping my daughter to progress with her writing and reading skills. I have been quite effusive about that over the last few weeks. Each new letter / blend is introduced in the student’s book with a review of the previous letters. Further practice of the target letter / blend is provided in the workbook. I have mentioned before that we practice for 10 minutes a day in the morning. There are a few points that I have found helpful when doing this and also some resources that are worth sharing.
In primary school I remember doing letter writing practice and line drawing practice that covered sheets of note paper and which obviously helped me to become a more fluid writer. Jolly Phonics also covers the pencil skills quite nicely, but not to the extent that I feel is necessary. We will usually practice using one page in the student book and then move on to the extended practice in the workbook. We don’t stick to the same letter in the workbook though. We progressed two or three-letter in the student book before I started using the workbook. Now, when we use the workbook it is to review letters from a day or two before. We also only practice one line of the letters in the workbook at a time, leaving at least one line free for review another day. I feel that this approach provides more balance for the young learner although I would be very interested to hear different opinions.
Jolly Phonics also provide extra downloads for extra writing practice (along with a range of other presentation and support materials) on their gallery page here. The colouring worksheets suit my practice schedule best, but there are only four available to download. Early Learning HQ provides their own materials that can be used to support the Jolly Phonics system here. The worksheets are not for writing practice however. Perhaps the most useful resource I found after a quick trip around the interweb was here are Home Education Resources. Follow the link and go to the bottom of the page where you can print out blank handwriting paper that uses hard lines for the top and bottom of the lines (capitals) and a dotted line in the middle. This isn’t a distinction that Jolly Phonics Workbooks make clear (not a complaint, just an observation) Very suitable for young learners but be careful. It’s new to them. Give them time and allow mistakes.
As my daughter gets older I will be able to use the handwriting practice notebooks available at almost any stationers here in Japan. For the time being these prints or the like are great. No system is perfect. Each needs supplementation or adjustment. That’s what I hope we can achieve by sharing ideas. Please don’t hesitate to share yours.