Recently I’ve been seeing this same image pop up over and over again on the internet with the word ‘do it yourself – phonic phones’… being the magpie that I am, the bright colours caught my eye and I liked the sound of them, I just didn’t have a clue how you used them in the classroom…so I did a bit of investigating.
They’re basically shaped like an old fashioned telephone and allow the child to speak quietly into one end and hear their own voice clearly at the other.
Phonic phones are meant to be really effective during reading time and phonics work.
I can hear you thinking already, “it’s just a bit of plastic, how can that improve phonics?”
Here’s a little breakdown of the key positive points…
1. The phone helps children to hear their own voice – that means they’re hearing the sounds they’re using in phonic work or reading, directly into their ear.
2. The phonic phone compels the child to speak in a whisper or very quiet voice. If they spoke using their normal voices, the volume would be uncomfortably loud in their ears. So this is great for even whole class work as it keeps the noise level down. Nothing ruins the outcome of a phonics lessons like noise!
3. The phone improves the child’s focus and attention on what they are doing as they are intentionally listening to their own voice.
4. A quiet classroom means children can read orally without disturbing one another.
5. It’s fun! And it’s different!
6. It offers a level of privacy for those that are less confident. This may help struggling readers overcome their reluctance to read out loud.
Like many new ideas, you’re not going to be able to simply hand these tools to your class and expect them to know how to use them sensibly within the classroom (I can imagine they’d make great horns). It will need to be modelled and the time spent using them can be increased over a period of time.
And again, like so many great ideas, there is a ‘buy it pre-made’ version but as it has the tag ‘education’ attached to it, they are not cheap. You’re looking at between £3-10 each which is a lot if you want one for every child in your class.
So…go for the DIY version and in my opinion they look far more appealing anyway…