Elkonin boxes are a wonderful tool to help kids build phonemic awareness!
Have you heard of Elkonin boxes? These simple tools help kids build phonemic awareness by helping them divide words into their individual phonemes.
Some quick vocabulary review:
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.
phonemic awareness – a component of phonological awareness; it’s the ability to isolate, blend, segment, and manipulate individual phonemes
phonemes – the individual sounds within a word. For example, “rake” has four letters but only three sounds – /r/,/ā/,/k/.
Read it: 21 Games to Develop Phonological Awareness
Elkonin boxes help kids segment words into phonemes. They’re a fantastic way to develop an important pre-reading skill.
Here’s how they work!
Print and cut apart the Elkonin boxes. (Laminate for durability if desired.) Then grab small manipulatives that are fun to use. We used these colorful glass gems.
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Place a card in front of your child. Start with a simple one that has only two boxes.
“Today we’re going to say the picture on each card and listen for the sounds in each word. We’re going to put one gem in a box each time we hear a sound. Let’s start with this first one. What picture do you see?”
“Right. So when we say the word bee and separate it into its sounds, it sounds like this: /b/ /eee/. I can put one gem here for /b/ and one gem here for /eee/. Can you point to each gem as I say the sounds again? /b/ /eeee/.”
Continue the activity with the other words that have just two phonemes. /b/ /ō/.
Move to words with three phonemes if your child is ready. /m/ /oo/ /n/
Finish with the words that have four phonemes. Always remember that we’re counting the sounds we hear, not the letters we’d spell. Elkonin boxes are an oral activity. /k/ /l/ /o/ /k/
I pulled these cards out for my Four, who knows his letters and sounds very well.
These were hard for him! It surprised me. He wasn’t able to isolate the sounds in each word, but he was willing to watch me do the activity and point to each sound as I named it. We’ll do the activity that way for now, and I think that one day soon he’ll be ready to try it himself.
Another way to use Elkonin boxes
- Name the picture and a particular sound. For example, say the word “moon” and tell your child to show where he’d mark the sound “/n/”. He should put a gem in the last box on the card.
Read it: Hear beginning, middle, and ending sounds with these clip cards
Grab your free cards below!
P.S. The download contains cards with images AND with clip art (in both color and black and white). Make sure you mark the pages you want to print so you don’t waste ink.
- p. 3-11 (real images)
- p. 12-20 (color clip art)
- p. 21-29 (black & white clip art)
Get your free Elkonin boxes!
BUILD A STRONG READING FOUNDATION
Phonemic Awareness Games & Activities
The research is in! Children with a strong foundation of phonemic awareness become better readers. Our bundle is your one-stop shop for teaching all levels of this important skill.
The link on this page for the free elkonin printable download doesn’t work. I don’t have any issues accessing any of the other free printables on other pages. It is not an issue of ad blocker and I am using Google Chrome.
This is Kate, Anna’s assistant. I’m sorry you had trouble! I just tested the link on Firefox, and it worked perfectly. Please give it another try!
Hi, Christina and Kate, I’m also having difficulty accessing the elkonin download. I subscribed and received an email to the resources on the site; however, I’m unable to find the elkonin boxes in the categorized resource lists.
Thank you in advance.
Heather Groth, Customer Support
Hi Jennifer! I just resent the email with the link to you. Please make sure to check your spam folders in case it was filtered into there! If you can’t find it, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to help!
Wow, Measured Mom!!
You are smart, wise, thoughtful, compassionate, and just doing the right thing! I’m a retired teacher starting a volunteer tutoring program and I instantly saw how purposeful you are. Thank you for all of this!!!
Thank you so much for your kind words, Rebecca!
Hi! I am already a subscriber and I have tried to click the download button multiple times for the Elkonin boxes, but it isn’t working.
This is Kate, Anna’s assistant. Please disable your ad blocker for this site, and use Google Chrome for best viewing. Thanks so much!
Love your resources!! Just letting you know that there is an error with one of the items on the segmenting phonemes task. Fox has 4 phonemes, not 3.
Fox – /f/, /o/, /k/, /s/.
/x/ is not a phoneme.
Yes, thanks! I’m not sure how I missed that. For now I recommend that people don’t use that card, as I don’t know when I’ll be able to make the edit.
I have been trying to get the elkonin boxes but I guess the link is not working. I have put my email address down over and over again but still cannot get it. Would or could you please email them to me. I love all your resources and am excited to start using these boxes.
This is Kate, Anna’s assistant. Once you enter your email address, the file is sent to you immediately. If you haven’t checked your email, please go check it. Once you open the email, you will click on a blue link that says something like, “CLAIM YOUR OFFER.” Enjoy your elkonin boxes!
I am trying to download the free elkonin boxes by signing up but the site will not let me. If you could help out that would be great!
What’s happening when you try, Vanessa? Feel free to send me an email! email@example.com
I love using these with my students. Thanks so much! Remember, x has two sounds /k/ and /s/ so it needs two boxes.
Ah yes, sorry I missed that! I don’t plan to make edits to this free file at this time, so I suggest to anyone reading this that they set that card aside. 🙂
Great treasures here
You’re very welcome, Ral! I’m glad you like them!
very nice but we don’t talk Englisch at school.
Tank a lot.
You’re welcome, Esma!
I love all your resources as you know.
However I was wandering, do you break up the consonant blends? such a gl bl etc. bl can be counted as one sound.
Thanks for the clarification
Consonant blends are two separate sounds. However, digraphs (sh, ch, th) are each a single sound.
Thank you. I am a literacy coach and I love your resources
Thanks so much, Kristine!
Thank you for the great work done in the field of early years. My teachers are so excited with a substantial addition to their resource bank. This caters to the differentiation in our classroom.
I’m so glad you can use this resource!
Thanks a lot, your resources are a great help and of course interesting. Great work!! Continue sharing, thank you.
Thank you for the encouragement, Nusrat!
Rachel du Toit
Thank you, all the way from Phokeng, South Africa, for your wonderful free resources. They are so engaging and just what I need!
I’m so glad to hear that, Rachel!
These are awesome. I just started using these with my 4 year old who was struggling with breaking down words by sound. First I laid out some of 2 and 3 sound cards and I said words one sound at a time and because she was able to see the pictures it clicked. She loves to do these. I will also use them for my 6 year old so she can write in the letters for spelling practice. I love all of your resources! We are also using your Weather Packet and it’s great.
Yay! I’m so excited that these helped the concept click with your 4 year old! Thanks so much for sharing, Yvonne. 🙂
I can use the Elkonin boxes for myself, too! As a non-native speaker, it seems very funny to use! And useful of course!
Greetings from Italy!
That’s great, Ivi! 🙂
Thank you for this, yes I know all about elkonin boxes from my Dyslexia Action training. Teaching English in France to young children, is exciting and this will be very useful.
many thanks !!!
Yay – so glad you can use these, Lynn!
Can you please give the answers of all the elkonin box ?
what are the phonemes of the following words?
shoe ice fox egg web ant apple leaf snail vase deer glue chin globe toast broom lamp train dress truck bread.
If there is no answers, I even don’t know the names of the pictures. Thanks for giving me the anwers so that I can learn
It’s included now, Louisa!
Funke from Nigeria
Thank you Anna for sharing. I am a new subscriber, I feel at home already with your great ideas and the worm welcoming newsletter. I think your site will help me to assist some of my students that are strugling with their phnonological awareness and beginning reading skills. Continue the great work! I love it all.
Welcome, Funke, and I hope you find many helpful resources on my site! 🙂
Hi there I have been a teacher for 22 years and recently I have been certified as a reading intervention teacher. I just want to say thanks for all your posts and activities. I live in the Caribbean and sometimes it’s hard to get resources
We’re so glad you can use our printables, Tameka! 🙂
I just wanted to thank you. We were talking about Elkonin boxes in our PLCs the other week and I wanted to add them to my guided reading. I’m so excited to try these with my kiddos!
AND, I have your nursery rhyme packet – my kids LOVE it! Even my little boy who doesn’t speak English is enjoying the rhymes and learning new words. My kids are picking up so many important pre-reading skills! Thank you for all you do.
I love that, Karen – perfect timing!! I’m so glad you got these in time to use them, and I’m THRILLED to hear that your students like my nursery rhyme pack!