Wednesday, March 23, 2016
 What are
Sound Boxes?
And how can I use them with my Guided Reading Groups?
Be sure to read to the bottom to get the
special freebie and enter the giveaway!
Search the hashtag #smashingstrategies on Tpt!
I originally found Sound Boxes while reading
Sound Boxes break words up into sounds, not letters. 
When you write letters in Sound Boxes, you listen carefully to every sound, decide which letter(s) make that sound and write them in.  It's a great strategy for teaching phonics! 

In the word "shirt," the word is broken up into 3 sounds.
Two letters make "sh" and "ir," so we write them both in one box, while the ending "t" just needs one sound box.
Imagine all of the thinking that goes on while your students are filling in these sound boxes!
Here’s another great example. 
The word “whale” also has 5 letters, but only 3 sounds.  When using the Sound Boxes strategy, kids will know that there are 3 sound in the word.  They must think about how to write those sounds.
I have been using this strategy with Sound Boxes for a couple of years now and have noticed a pretty substantial improvement in my students’ spelling. Good spellers usually are good readers so the payoff is great for the entire Language Arts block.
When I see my students counting out the sounds of words that they are not sure how to spell and then writing the sound that they hear, I can't help but smile and be proud of them.  I have taught them to “finger spell” the words that they aren’t sure about. 
During Guided Reading, I use picture cards with Sound Boxes underneath.  (like the "shirt," “whale”  and the "park" cards.  After I go over all of the pictures and sounds with my students using a mini dry erase board, I pass out one laminated card to each student in the group with a dry erase marker/magic eraser.  I can watch them to see if they are filling in the boxes correctly and correct them if needed. I usually just say, "Check that one again."  They continues passing around the cards and writing the sounds until time is up.  It's a great way to start the word study portion of the group.   After all of the cards for the particular skill have been introduced, I put them in a station for continued practice. Finally, I bring out the practice pages when I know they can successfully complete them.  There are a lot of ways to use the practice pages.  I can use them in my group to check for understanding.  They can also be used for seatwork, homework, station work, assessments, etc.
Sound Boxes are also a FANTASTIC vocabulary builder for ESL and Non ESL students alike.
The best part about using Sound Boxes in guided reading is the raised awareness about words.  Students can use this strategy for reading, phonics/spelling and definitely for writing.
Check out some products that I use to practice Sound Boxes in my classroom!


Here's a great Freebie to get you started just for stopping by to read this blog post.  :)  This freebie isn't available on TpT, so leave a little feedback here if you like it.  In this free preview, you will get a 15 page product with magic e (_a_e) word cards and practice pages.  If you love it, you can purchase the entire product here.        
Thank you for stopping by!