Halloween Word Play for Beginning Readers

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Learning how to hear the individual sounds or phonemes in words can be a tricky skill for many early readers.  One tool that is a great help during small group instruction is Elkonin boxes.  These Halloween Elkonin boxes are perfect for a warm-up word play activity this October.

What Are Elkonin Boxes?

You’re probably thinking “What in the world is an Elkonin box?” It’s a fancy word for a word play activity.  The purpose of this tool is to help learners count the syllables or phonemes in a word.  It also helps tactile and visual learners feel and see the parts or sounds they hear in each word.  This simple activity is a great way to warm up for writer’s workshop or any small group lesson.

How to Use Elkonin Boxes

Have learners draw boxes or print the Halloween Elkonin boxes in this post.  Then, say the word and have the learners repeat it slowly listening for the individual sounds.  Finally, have learners place a manipulative to represent the sounds they hear.

For example, say the word “hat” and learners will repeat /h/ /a/ /t/.  Then, learners will place a mini eraser on a box for each sound they hear.

When to Use Elkonin Boxes?

If you have learners that are having difficulty hearing the different sounds in words, then this is the perfect tool.  Many little learners only hear some sounds in words when they are decoding for a writing activity.  The initial, some medial and final sounds usually appear in more difficult words and other sounds may be missing.

This resource helps learners practice decoding the words and hearing the sounds they need to write.  It is a fun and simple way to expose children to the segmenting words in the classroom.

How to Connect it to Writing?

Once learners are able to understand the segmenting process it’s time to get them writing.  As the learners place a manipulative on the box have them write the letter for that sound.

It is important to remember that the words may not be spelled correctly and that is okay.  We want learners to spell phonetically at the beginning as they are learning beginning phonics skills.  So, if “tree” is /t//r//e/ that is perfect for beginning writers.

You can download a copy of these Halloween Elkonin boxes by clicking the MJCS download image at the bottom of this post.

For more information on Elkonin boxes check out these helpful resources…

Elkonin Boxes from Reading Rockets

Free Elkonin Boxes from the Measured Mom

Sound Boxes from Playdough to Plato

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