Monday, June 19, 2017

Free Elkonin Boxes

phonological awareness – the ability to hear differences in the ways words sound. If children have phonological awareness, they can identify beginning sounds, count syllables, and rhyme.
phonemes – the individual sounds within a word. For example, “rake” has four letters but only three sounds – /r/,/ā/,/k/.

Elkonin boxes build phonological awareness skills by segmenting words into individual sounds, or phonemes. 

To use Elkonin boxes, a child listens to a word and moves a token into a box for each sound or phoneme. In some cases different colored tokens may be used for consonants and vowels or just for each phoneme in the word.

Why use Elkonin Boxes?

They help students build phonological awareness by segmenting words into sounds or syllables.
They teach students how to count the number of phonemes in the word (not always the number of letters).
They help students better understand the alphabetic principle in decoding and spelling.

How to use Elkonin Boxes

  1. Pronounce a target word slowly, stretching it out by sound.
  2. Ask the child to repeat the word.
  3. Draw "boxes" or squares on a piece of paper, chalkboard, or dry erase board with one box for each syllable or phoneme.
  4. Have the child count the number of phonemes in the word, not necessarily the number of letters. For example, wish has three phonemes and will use three boxes. /w/, /i/, /sh/
  5. Direct the child to slide one colored circle, unifix cube, or corresponding letter in each cell of the Elkonin box drawing as he/she repeats the word.
The example below shows an Elkonin Box for the word "sheep," which consists of three phonemes (sounds): /sh/ /ee/ /p/
Elkonin Boxes

 Segementing words is one of the more difficult skills children acquire. It is also one of the best predictors of future success in reading. Elkonin boxes are a physical segmentation of words into phonemes.
 Though not originially intended for teaching spelling, Elkonin boxes can be used to practice spelling from a synthetic phonics point of view. The Elkonin box above is modified somewhat to give children more room to write when they encounter a digraph such as /ee/ or /sh/. 
There are many activities that teachers can do with these boxes, but the main activity I use them for is to 'stretch' out words, identify similar or different sounds and then guess at spellings.
   An elkonin box for the word sheep, which
   consists of three phonemes (sounds). Our
   boxes are modified to a little more room for
   fitting digraphs such as 'ee' and 'sh'.
We segment the words and then try to figure out possible spellings and then I help them choose the correct spelling, which they write into the boxes (i.e. sheep as opposed to sheap).

Children's books to use with this strategy

The books suggested represent a range of difficulty but all should appeal to children from preschool through grade 2 or 3. The palindrome books are suggested for slightly older children.
Go Dog Go
Go Dog Go
Picture book/easy reader
Dogs of all shapes and sizes cavort and play in this lively and now classic book filled with easy (and often repeated) words that are supported by lighthearted illustrations.
Hamsters, Shells, and Spelling Bees
Hamsters, Shells, and Spelling Bees
Poetry/easy reader
Familiar subjects are presented in short poems by a range of writers. These easier-to read works are just right to encourage careful listening.
Hop on Pop
Hop on Pop
Picture book/easy reader
Words of one syllable combine with energetic, slightly offbeat and very funny illustrations just right to engage while allowing sounds to be heard.
Go Dog Go
Mom and Dad Are Palindromes
Picture book/easy reader
When a boy learns about palindromes, he begins to see them everywhere. The humorous tale introduces words and phrases that are the same when spelled - and pronounced - forward or backward. Palindrome riddles are presented in Too Hot to Hoot: Funny Palindrome Riddles by Marvin Terban (Sandpiper). Both books have strong visual clues.
Go Dog Go
Runny Babbit: A Billy Sook
Poetry/easy reader
Silverstein's poetry (created using Spoonerisms; that is, transposing initial sounds of two words) makes it fun to read and requires hearing sounds to "translate".

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