Elkonin boxes are a great tool for beginning and struggling readers to build phonological awareness by segmenting words into sounds. They help students practice counting the number of phonemes in a wordthough this is not always the same number of letters. Mastering this skill orally lays the foundation for both decoding and spelling.
How Elkonin Boxes Work:
1. Listen to the target word.
2. Repeat the word aloud.
3. Say it again, slowly, stretching the word out to hear all the sounds.
4. As you say the word a third time, tap one square for each sound you hear.
5. Sh is just one tap because those two letters make one sound!
6. Bl is two taps because you can hear both the b and the l in the word.
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/
This app breaks goes beyond the basic classroom Elkonin Boxes worksheets by creating multiple levels and 'difficulties' for students to progress through. Words are divided into three levels, progressing from shortest words and easiest sounds to longest words and blended sounds.
The app also adds in two modes: Practice and Quiz. In Practice Mode, kids will always be presented with the correct number of boxes to tap. True beginners can choose to have the correct phoneme (sound) spoken aloud with each tap for them to repeat back. As they progress, they can opt to have a musical tone play instead - challenging them to come up with each phoneme sound on their own.
After practicing, students will be able to test their skills in Quiz Mode. Once again they'll need to come up with the phonemes themselves, but now they'll also need to determine how many sounds they hear on their own. The correct number of boxes to tap won't necessarily be displayed.
Elkonin Boxes are a proven tool for building the basic foundation for early literacy. This app improves on the established worksheet method by eliminating teacher error (it happens to the best of us!), presenting the exercise in a new and exciting way, and introducing new levels and methods to better help children progress. Better yet - it's a way kids can practice both at school and at home!