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.
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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.
How I use Elkonin boxes
Segmenting: Child 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 child uses tiles or 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: Child 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.
Grab my printable Elkonin boxes template in my freebies library.
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 may 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:
- Multisensory Spelling Strategy
- My Secret Tip to Improve Reading Comprehension
- Multisensory Strategies for B & D Reversals
- Systematic Synthetic Phonics for Struggling Readers
- How to Implement Multisensory Learning
- Phonemic Awareness Strategies & Activities for Struggling Readers