Elkonin Boxes For Reading Intervention

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After years of working with dyslexic kids, I have several reading strategies for struggling readers that I always turn to because of their success. The best strategies are all multi-sensory because those are the most effective for all struggling readers, especially those with dyslexia.

Blending and segmenting words are two skills many of my students struggle with. Often, they can sound out each letter but are unable to blend the sounds together to say the word or they struggle to break words up into phonemes. Simple decoding strategies are always a helpful addition to any reading program.

Reading Intervention with Elkonin Boxes

My favorite reading strategy to help struggling readers is to use Elkonin boxes. It’s one of the best dyslexia interventions for phonics and decoding that all students can use.

Elkonin boxes provide a great visual scaffold for students to blend without pausing between the letters and break words up into phonemes. It builds phonological and phonemic awareness and helps students visualize phonemes. I have found this strategy to be the most effective with my students and am able to remove the visual and they can still apply the strategy on their own.

I created my own Elkonin box template with color aids and a blending arrow to help students blend the sounds. The colors are especially helpful for students who struggle with tracking and make inversion and omission mistakes when reading and writing.

I use this template with phonogram cards, letter tiles, or write phonograms directly on it. I put the page in a sheet protector and use the ultra fine dry erase markers on them.

Elkonin boxes

How I use Elkonin boxes

Segmenting: The student listens to a word and places a tile/letter in each box for each phoneme as they sound out the word. This makes a great whole class or one-on-one intervention.

Blending: Write or place phonemes in each box and the student uses tiles or a finger to sound out each phoneme and blend the sounds together. I like using color-coded letter tiles for this as well. You can easily use this as an independent activity for sounding out words.

Spelling: The student listens to a word and writes the correct phoneme in each box.

Watch below some of the different ways I use Elkonin boxes with my students.

Below is my word mapping template for segmenting and blending. This template incorporated Elkonin boxes along with visual, auditory, and kinesthetic methods to improve decoding and blending.

Grab my printable Elkonin boxes template in my freebies library.

printable elkonin boxes template

So now you know how to use Elkonin boxes as a decoding strategy and reading intervention both in the classroom and as a reading tutor. Of all the reading strategies for decoding using Elkonin boxes is my favorite.

Elkonin boxes help build phonemic awareness, which is where many struggling readers have deficits. This post is full of multisensory phonemic awareness activities.

Check out the other products in my shop for struggling learners!

If you’re looking for more tips on teaching reading to struggling learners, check out these other posts:

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Elkonin boxes reading strategy for blending sounds

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  1. Hi! I love your cards you are using with the elkonin boxes! Is there a way to purchase these?! Such great articles and resources! Thank you so much!

  2. Hello, I am loving your posts for TWO reasons. 1. I am a high school English teacher who is working with struggling readers. I teach a Reading Intervention class for 9-12th graders, quite a few of whom read at the 3rd to 5th grade level. I am finding valuable insights from your resources that I can apply to my own teaching. 2. I am the mother of a 5 year old boy who is in kindergarten and working on beginning reading. He is doing well right now, but does struggle with words like “she,” “here,” and “the.”

    Anyway, I do have a question. Do you have any posts or resources for older kids who are still struggling with decoding or more complex sounds like “igh” (night), or “tion” (completion)? I’d love to see what resources or info you have at your highest level. Thank you!

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