Elkonin Sound Boxes

Activity for ages 3 to 5.

Elkonin sound boxes are a great way to build phonemic awareness with new readers because they encourage children to focus on one sound at a time. Print off your set below and grab your stash of magnetic letters for some engaging, hands-on learning!

Getting Ready

Prepping the sound boxes was a fast as they come!

I printed the pages on cardstock and laminated them for extra durability.

Then I cut along the lines to separate the cards and grabbed our stash of magnetic letters. (We used uppercase letters but lowercase ones would work just as well.)

Elkonin Sound Boxes

After we finished a reindeer painting project one morning (hence the brown fingers), I invited Little Sister (age 4) to join me.

I pulled out a two sound Elkonin box and walked her through the activity step-by-step.

First, she named the word: Bee.

Then she slowly stretched out the sounds, “B-ee.” The word had two parts.

She pointed to the first (I marked it GREEN to help her remember that we GO to the left box first) and said the first sound in the word: /b/.

Little Sister slid her finger to the next box and said part #2: /ee/.

Depending on whether or not she had learned the letters that make those sounds, we could have skipped straight to the last step and slid her finger along the arrow to say the complete word.

But since I knew that she already had the B and E sounds memorized, I decided to stretch her.

I asked Little Sister what letter made the /b/ sound at the beginning of the word. She confidently answered B.

Then she grabbed the B magnetic letter and slid it into the first box.

We said the word again, accentuating the second sound this time: EE.

Little Sister recognized that one right away and happily grabbed the E for box #2.

With the two magnetic letters in place, she pointed her brown paint fingers underneath the first letter and slid it along the arrow to say the complete word “Bee”.

The activity gave her practice building phonemic awareness by breaking the word into parts, strengthening letter sound knowledge, AND learning to read left to right.

There was so much packed into one card!

Download Your Set

Snag your free set by clicking the blue download button below and then hop over and grab 114 sound boxes HERE! 


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  1. Mallary

    Your activities are wonderful! The children learn so much because they are fully engaged in the activities they are working on! Thank you SO MUCH for sharing!!!

    • Ashley

      Thank you so much Mallary! That means so much to us!
      We’re so glad you’re enjoying them!
      Ashley // Happiness Ambassador



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Hi, I’m Malia.

I LOVE helping Pre-K, Kindergarten and First Grade teachers save time, stay inspired and give EVERY student bigger results. I’m so glad you’re here!

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