What is Phonemic Awareness?
Phonemic awareness means HEARING the sounds in words and moving those sounds around. For instance, in the word “rain”, we want to teach children to hear THREE different sounds: R-AI-N.
Notice that there are FOUR letters in the spelling but only THREE sounds (called phonemes).
Building students’ phonemic awareness is extremely important because it prepares them to read and spell later.
Have you ever had a student sound out all of the letters in a word correctly but, when it came time to blend those sounds together, she said something completely different like “S-U-N … step”?
It may be tempting to have her go back and work on letter sounds but what she ACTUALLY is struggling with is phonemic awareness.
The great news is that these handy little cards called sound boxes are one of my FAVORITE ways to build it!
Prepping the sound boxes was as fast as it comes!
I printed the pages on cardstock and laminated them for extra durability. Then I cut along the lines to separate the pieces and grabbed our stash of mini erasers.
(NOTE: If you don’t have mini erasers on hand, you can use Matchbox cars, clothespins, LEGOS… so many other manipulatives!)
Sound Boxes for Phonemic Awareness
After we finished a painting project (hence the brown fingers), I invited my daughter to join me.
I pulled out a three-sound box and walked her through the activity step-by-step.
First, she named the word: “Dog”.
Then she slowly stretched out the sounds, “D-o-g.” The word had three parts.
She pointed to the first box (I marked it GREEN to help her remember that we GO to the left box first) and said the first sound in the word: /d/. My daughter slide a mini eraser into the box.
Then she moved her finger to the next box and said “/o/” as she placed another mini eraser inside it.
Finally, she tapped the last box and said “/g/ before adding eraser #3 and sliding her finger along the arrow at the bottom to blend those sounds together: “Dog”.
The sound boxes were such a simple way to practice building phonemic awareness! My daughter worked on breaking the word into parts, strengthening letter sound knowledge, AND learning to read left to right.
There was so much packed into each card!
Although I used the cards with erasers, they are GREAT to use with other manipulatives too! For instance, you can:
- Place a ball of playdough in each box and have kids squish one ball each time they hear a sound,
- Drive Matchbox cars into the “parking spaces”,
- Slide an alphabet magnet into the squares,
- Clip the boxes with clothespins,
- Or even place LEGOS in each box!
There are SO MANY hands-on and fun possibilities!
Download Your Set
Snag your free set by clicking the blue download button below and then hop over and grab 114 sound boxes HERE!