Helping Preschoolers Develop Phonemic Awareness Skills Using Sound Boxes

Elizabeth Durst, Laurice Marie Joseph


The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of sound boxes as a supplemental instructional technique on improving phoneme segmentation performance for a sample of preschoolers enrolled in a Head Start program. Sound boxes activity coupled with modeling, guided practice, and corrective feedback was implemented and gradually faded as students mastered phoneme segmentation skills.  A multiple probe across participants design was used to compare children’s phoneme segmentation performance during baseline and sound boxes intervention conditions.  All children’s performance on phoneme segmentation tasks during sound boxes intervention was above their baseline performance levels. Children were able to maintain their high phoneme segmentation performance levels after modeling, guided practice, and eventually the sound boxes were gradually removed. In addition, children were able to generalize segmenting some of the phonemes when they were presented within words that were not directly taught during sound boxes activity. Implications for using sound boxes in the classroom and at home are provided.



phoneme awareness; early literacy intervention

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This journal is a publication of the NHSA and the CEME at UNC Charlotte.