Elkonin Sound Box Visuals
Disclaimer: Phonemic Awareness is in no way a specialty of mine, however creating and
storing visuals is. The following products are loosely organized to follow the program where
I was trained in O-G.
You will find my Elkonin Sound Box Visuals to be an effective tool. D.B. Elkonin, a famous
Russian Scientist, developed a program using boxes similar to mine. Using the cards, along
with space markers as I'll describe, will improve your students’ phonemic awareness skills.
The cards are used to help the students stretch out words so they can hear and say all
the sounds. My cards were created as half pages to save printing costs and storage space.
If anyone were to want full size pages, that could be arranged. Along with the cards
(printed two to a page, on card stock) you’ll receive a word list and brief instructions. If
you would like more information on phonemic awareness, please refer to the resources
listed at the end of this page.
The first set( 50 cards) has CVC words only. Initial continuant sounds are first in my
sequence. As you move on to the second set (50 cards) you will find long vowel sounds and
words with initial blends and long or short vowels. That being said, as you probably know,
the long vowels are actually acceptable to use right along with short vowels when no print is
involved. Even the most strict O-G Tutor would agree with this, because it is much easier to
hear the sounds for l-ea-f than th-r-o-n-e. Personally I avoid long vowel sounds like the
plague when introducing short vowels. In my opinion, the long sounds are so much easier to
attain, because the sounds are also the names of the vowels. I digress!
The third set (54 cards) has words with final blends as well as words with am & an. There
is one blue block for the am & an sounds. I realize many programs don’t treat these sounds
the same way. In my opinion, s-t-an-d is so much easier than s-t-a-n-d; because that /a/
does not say /ă/, /ā/, /Ə/ or /ä/. It is basically a fifth sound for a that is only followed by
m or n. The clothes pin on my nose makes it memorable. See my page on Welded Sounds for
In the example above, you will see two cards pictured from each set. The cards will arrive
in the same order they appear on your list. I recommend writing the words on the back of
the cards as you may forget the exact word over time. I showed one student the rug
picture; he said, “carpet.” It actually worked out well; we turned it into a vocabulary
exercise. What other word might describe the picture? “Mat.” He ended stretching both
mat and rug, because they both work. My card for black could be misconstrued as shape.
Either word could describe the graphic shown, but there are four phonemes in black and
only three in shape. It has to be black. I’ve written alternatives with the correct number of
phonemes on the backs of my cards.
The cost of the cards: Sets 1 & 2 - 30.00 each and 33.00 for set three. E-mail me if you'd
like to purchase or even discuss Elkonin Boxes: [email protected]
Road to the code: A Phonological Awareness Program for Young Children, Blachman, B., Ball, E., Black, R., & Tangel, D. (2000). Baltimore: Paul Brookes.
Using Sound Boxes Systematically to Develop Phonemic Awareness, Patricia A. McCarthy found in The Reading Teacher, v62 n4 p346-349 Dec 2008