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How to Use CVC Sound Boxes

If you’re in the business of teaching kids how to read, you’ll want to know about using free CVC sound boxes for blending and phonological awareness.  Sound boxes are a tool used to help emergent readers segment words into isolated sounds. Using CVC sound boxes, also known as Elkonin boxes, provides beginning readers a visual space to isolate letter sounds before learning to blend and form words.  Integrating phonics activities for kids is a vital process when learning how to read. 


What is Phoneme Segmentation?

Let’s break this down.  Phoneme segmentation is the ability to break words into individual sounds.  A phoneme is a sound. For example, cat would be /c/ /a/ /t/.  This language skill will lead to strong reading development and fluency. Phoneme segmentation, however, is not simply the ability to produce a letter sound when shown a word.  Instead, it is more about manipulating and hearing sounds within words.  



Get a set of free sound boxes when you sign up to the Little Learning Corner email crew, HERE.

Kindergarten and first grade students focus heavily on phoneme segmentation.  There are many ways to practice phoneme segmentation, including rhyming, games, CVC sound boxes, poems, songs, word work, etc.   Research shows kids who struggle with phonological awareness will not be strong readers.  


When using CVC sound boxes, kids have a visual representation to see how many sounds are in the word. Using tactile objects and kinesthetic movements, such as manipulatives and tapping one sound for each box, are excellent reading intervention strategies for kids learning to read.  Furthermore, games such as CVC Task Cards and Clip Cards also build early reading skills. 

Items to use with CVC Sound Boxes:

  • Chip counters
  • Cereal (fruit loops, cheerios, etc)
In the video below, kids use the cvc sound boxes, included in my free cvc worksheets, to learn how to read.  The cvc pictures, located to the left of the sound boxes, are the same cvc word family pictures that I focus on throughout the week.  Repetition is key!   



In conclusion, sound boxes are a powerful tool when teaching kids how to blend.  Allowing your little learners to use objects, such as skittles or buttons, is a sensory-based technique used to help build a stronger connection with the blending process. You can get these free sound boxes, along with word family cards with pictures, cvc worksheets, decodable books, and more in my FREE CVC resource packet.   



Before you go, here are a few blog posts you will enjoy:

All About Word Families

20 Tips for Teaching Concepts of Print

35 Ideas for Indoor Recess Games

65 Easy Holiday Crafts for Kids


CVC Sound Boxes