Chances are if you are not a Reading teacher then you may not know what Elkonin boxes are or who Elkonin was.
D.B. Elkonin was a psychologist who pioneered the use of boxes to help students with Spelling.
Each box represents one sound. For a child who wants to spell cat...they would insert or "push up" a chip c - a - t as they sound out the word into each box. If the child was spelling a word with a digraph or vowel team then those 2 letters would be in one box. For example the word fish would be inserted f - i - sh. The sh stays together as they are a digraph. If they are spelling bee then they would insert b - ee. The ee are two letters but make one sound.
Elkonin boxes and their premise have been used to help with phonemic segmentation with students and to also assess phonemic segmentation. You don't even need the box... you could give the child chips and have them push one chip up for each sound they hear.
Elkonin boxes are an easy accommodation for a young student struggling with writing. Sometimes, students will hesitate to write for fear of spelling words wrong. Given a box where they can break down the words would be an appropriate accommodation for a struggling writer. It would also be an appropriate accommodation for a spelling test for students who need the visual help. It is an accommodation that can easily be reduced in use and removed as the child become comfortable moving from the boxes to perhaps using his fingers to tap the sound to eventually no accommodation needed.
For samples go to http://www.readingrockets.org/content/pdfs/writingpractice_inside.pdf
For more information visit Reading Rockets at http://www.readingrockets.org/strategies/elkonin_boxes
For fun activities and ideas https://www.pinterest.com/search/pins/?q=elkonin&rs=typed&term_meta=elkonin%7Ctyped
Wife, Mom, Educator and Lifelong Learner