The achievements of teachers using the Jolly Phonics program have been
a fundamental reason for its widespread adoption.

London, Docklands

Dr. Morag Stuart carried out a study in London’s Docklands where almost all the children  peak a dialect of Bengali called Sylheti. (The families were recent immigrants from Bangladesh). While the experimental group were taught with Jolly Phonics. the control group were taught with big storybooks, a popular method based on word memorization. The results are summarized at the base of the page numbered 602. The results show a large average difference from the teaching method used. They also show a major difference in underachievement. And finally they show that this kind of phonics teaching is highly suitable for children with English as a second language.

Getting ready for reading: Early phoneme awareness and phonics teaching improves reading and spelling in inner-city second language learners – by Morag Stuart

Wood’s Loke, Suffolk, England

Dr. Rhona Johnston and Joyce Watson carried out an evaluation of the children in Woods Loke School in Suffolk, England. The authors of Jolly Phonics, Sue Lloyd and Sara Wernham taught at the school, and the school used Jolly Phonics. This evaluation was prior to their well known study in Clackmannanshire.

Systematic/Synthetic Phonics – by Dr Rhona S. Johnston and Joyce Watson

Clackmannanshire, Scotland

Dr. Rhona Johnston and Joyce Watson carried out the Clackmannanshire study, with the results first published as Interchange 57 by the Scottish Office:

There is also a Jolly Phonics case study from the time of this study:

Clackmannanshire Case Study

Clackmannanshire after 7 years

A later study in Clackmannanshire, after 7 years, answered the question of whether the children retained their gain in literacy. This paper summarizes the results on page 8, paragraph 3. As shown, their literacy skills had improved further.

Clackmannanshire after 7 years

Yorkshire, England

Professor Maggie Snowling, Professor Charles Hulme and others, carried out a study with
young children with poor oral language on starting school. They compare two different
interventions, one with extra phonological training (using Jolly Phonics) and one with extra oral language training.

Yorkshire results

Hyderabad, India

Dr Pauline Dixon researched the use of Jolly Phonics in low cost private schools in Hyderabad.

Hyderabad study

The Gambia

Jolly Phonics has been adopted for all primary schools in The Gambia and this report shows the results achieved in the first few years.

Gambia report

Akwa Ibom, Nigeria

Jolly Phonics was trialled in several schools in Akwa Ibom, a state in Nigeria. Although
this study shows modest literacy levels, it does show substantial gains. The trial, and this
evaluation, led to the adoption of Jolly Phonics for all primary schools in the state.

Akwa Ibom pilot study
Akwa Ibom research


An early study into Jolly Phonics was carried out by Dr Marlynne Grant at St Michael’s School in Stoke Gifford, Bristol. The link below is to the results published at the time. The Second Cohort is the significant one (where the teaching was for a full year). It showed not only a large average gain in reading age but important other findings. Not only did the boys do as well as the girls, but no difference by whether children had free school meals or not (a measure of social class).

Bristol results

There is also a Jolly Phonics case study on this school from the same time:

Bristol Case Study

In addition to these studies there are a number of Jolly Phonics case studies on individual
schools, written by those at the school and with their evaluation of the results. The full list is published here, but the ones with quantitative data available on those from Elgin IA, Seoul Korea, Yorkshire, Sydney, and Bristol.


“Des écoles anglaises au top: La révolution de la lecture dans les écoles publiques défavorisées.” Les Débats de l’éducation, Numero 2, Octobre 2012.