Fun with Sounds and Elkonin Boxes

Here is another fun way to practice spelling and phonics skills. All you need are some plastic letters and my Elkonin Boxes. Please click here for a link to download the boxes from a previous post.

There is an interesting sequence that parents should be aware of in spelling and phonics. Children learn to recognise sounds in words in the following order:

  • initial sound
  • final sound
  • medial sound (middle sound)

We tend to voice the initial and final sounds of words a little louder which makes them slightly easier to hear. Young children will often spell words without the middle/medial sound so “cat” can be written as “ct”.

Elkonin boxes can be so handy when practicing or teaching sounds. The photo below shows how they can be used to practice the initial sound in words.

  • What is the first sound in “cot”?
  • Can you change “cot” into “not”?

Most spelling programmes are based on the concept of word families. Children learn to spell words with same end sound (rime). By changing the first sound(s) before the vowel (onset) you can create a new word from the same family. The photo above shows the “ot” family. Can make not, hot, cot, spot, lot…?

Here is the trickier ” medial” sound. What is the middle sound in “nut”, “net”, “not”?

You can use them to practice blending or “stretching out” words. Create a word on the board and have your child stretch out the sounds. Then swap roles so your child is spelling out words for you to decode.

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh 🙂


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