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September 12, 2012 / the speech monster

On the roll: phonological awareness therapy idea

Like most speechies, I have an affinity for shopping at the discount store for affordable supplies to make resources or stock up on rewards for kids in my therapy classes. This past week, I found these wooden cube blocks (for cheap!!) which were perfect to make letter dice for phonological awareness (or, more specifically, phonemic awareness) therapy. Some of my kiddos are working on segmenting sounds in words, and blending sounds to form words. The literature on phonological awareness recommends activities that encourages sound-letter recognition, as opposed to just therapy involving sounds (Ball & Blachman, 1988; Ball & Blachman, 1991).

Depending on the level of the child, I will have out either 2 consonant cubes + 1 vowel cube (to form CVC words), or 3 consonant cubes + 1 vowel cube (to form CCVC words).

I have the kids roll the consonant dice, and then roll the vowel die separately. I’ll put the cubes in a line, and have the kids either blend the sounds together to form the word, or I’ll say the word and ask the kids to segment the sounds. I’ll also tell the kids that some words they roll might be “alien” words and sound funny. Oftentimes, nonsense words are the true test as to whether the kid has a good grasp on phonemic awareness!

The kiddos really enjoy this activity and because the cubes were quite inexpensive, I was happy to send home some of the dice for the kids to play and practice with their parents.

Let me know if you try this with your kiddos and how you went! Have you used something similar for phonological awareness therapy?


Only AUD2.50 for all those wooden blocks!


Wrote individual letters on each side of the cube


On one of the cubes, I wrote letters that typically appeared in blends, and one of the cubes (red one) was the vowel cube


Ball, E.W. & Blachman, B.A. (1988). Phonemic segmentation training : Effects of reading
readiness. Annals of Dyslexia, 38, 208 – 223.

Ball, E. W., & Blachman, B. (1991). Does phoneme awareness training in kindergarten make a difference in early word recognition and developmental spelling? Reading Research Quarterly, 26, 49-66.

Munro, J. (1998). Phonological and phonemic awareness: Their impact on learning to read prose and to spell.
Australian Journal of Learning Disabilities, 3, 2, 15-21.


Leave a Comment
  1. Rebecca Visintin / Sep 14 2012 1:25 am

    If you like one cubing activity, I think you like all! I do this too, but have learnt to put a mat down on the table first so the dice don’t make loud noises and go everywhere!

  2. Jacqueline / Feb 3 2013 5:31 pm

    These blocks are great! What store or website did you find them at?

    • the speech monster / Feb 6 2013 7:25 pm

      Hi Jacqueline. Thanks for commenting. I actually got them at a $2 store near my workplace (in Australia). They had different sizes but I picked the smallest ones so I could send them home with the kids in an envelope/ziploc. Where are you located? If in the US, I would imagine $2 stores would also carry them. Or else, try big craft stores like Michaels.

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