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The Jolly Grammar programme

Traditionally, grammar was seen as a formal academic subject, far too difficult for young children to learn. However, with the Jolly Grammar programme, young children can be introduced to grammatical concepts in a fun and accessible way.

The Jolly Grammar Handbooks provide enough lesson plans and activity pages for 36 weeks, with two one-hour lessons per week. The first of these lessons is devoted to spelling and to increasing the children’s phonic knowledge. The second lesson focuses on teaching grammar. The term ‘grammar’ is used loosely here, and the Jolly Grammar lessons introduce such topics as sentence structure, antonyms and synonyms, punctuation, and dictionary work, as well as teaching the children about parts of speech. Teachers can use Jolly Grammar twice a week to cover the structural aspects of the English language, and devote their remaining literacy lessons to other areas, such as group reading, creative writing, and comprehension exercises.

Just as each letter sound was introduced with an accompanying story and action in Jolly Phonics, Jolly Grammar introduces each different part of speech with an associated colour and action. The colours and actions not only make the grammar lessons fun for the children, but also make the grammatical terms easier for them to learn. The colours used to introduce each part of speech are the same as those used in Montessori schools. The actions are as follows (see table below).

Part of speech: Action: Colour: Introduced in:
Proper Nouns Touch one’s forehead with the index and middle fingers. Black Jolly Grammar 1
Common Nouns Touch one’s forehead with all the fingers of one hand. Black Jolly Grammar 1
Pronouns I: Point to oneself.
You (singular): Point to someone else.
He: Point to a boy.
She: Point to a girl.
It: Point to a floor.
We: Point in a circle, including oneself and others.
You (plural): Point to two other people.
They: Point to the neighbouring class.
Pink Jolly Grammar 1
Verbs Clench fists and move arms backwards and forwards, as if running. Red Jolly Grammar 1
(past tense)
Point backwards over one’s shoulder with the thumb. Red Jolly Grammar 1
(present tense)
Point towards the floor with the palm of one’s hand. Red Jolly Grammar 1
Point towards the front. Red Jolly Grammar 1
Adjectives Touch the side of one’s temple with a fist. Blue Jolly Grammar 1
Adverbs Bang one fist on top of the other. Orange Jolly Grammar 1
Prepositions Point from one noun to another. Green Jolly Grammar 2
Conjunctions Hold one’s hand out with palms facing up. Move both hands so that one is on top of the other. Purple Jolly Grammar 2