Sunday, February 7, 2016

DIY: Whisper Phonics Phone

April 19, 2010 by  
Filed under Featured, kid projects and DIY


I recently mentioned to family and friends about my daughter’s current obsession with reading and the quirks that come with it.  She insists on using this tiny, cheap plastic finger pointer to help keep her place because her own fleshy, equally sized human finger is not good enough. 😉  She also insists on reading every single word phonetically first, whether she knows the word or not, even sight words, before reading the entire sentence.  It’s painstakingly tedious for me to sit and listen to her read, and as slow as she goes, she’s getting it all as long as she’s got her dang finger pointer and reads aloud.  Unfortunately for my kid though, she has a little brother who screams, runs, and interrupts her train of thought so an elementary teacher friend suggested that I make a whisper phonics phone for my daughter as she is a child who needs to hear herself speak when she is reading.

A what?  Sorry, but my science teacher background precludes me from knowing what a whisper phonics phone is.  My friend sent me a link about phonics phones, and after looking into them, I just thought that the whole idea is brilliant.  It’s basically just a tube that a child can hold up like a phone.  When speaking into the mouth piece, the sound travels to the opening near the ear which helps to magnify and concentrate the sound.

I went to Home Depot and poked around the available cut PVC pipe pieces to assemble into a shape of an old school telephone handset.  The combination that I came home with for the whisper phone was…

  • 3/4″ 90 degree elbow
  • 3/4″ coupling
  • 1″ 90 degree elbow
  • 1″ 45 degree elbow


It works great, except that I think that the pieces I picked out are probably just a hair too wide for young kid.  I think I will go back to Home Depot and get smaller PVC pipe pieces to make the overall phone a little bit lighter.  The whisper phonics phone really is a neat little device to help the beginner reader.  An added bonus of this phonics phone is that my daughter has to whisper to talk into it so when she is off reading by herself, she is quiet, especially helpful during younger brother’s naps.

The total cost was $2 and change for the PVC pieces, but teachers or homeschoolers who may need more than one of these setups should buy a long PVC pipe to saw down into smaller pieces with bulk elbow joint packages to save money.


2 Responses to “DIY: Whisper Phonics Phone”
  1. Ceecy says:

    Wow. Astounding in its simplicity. Thank you for sharing your handywoman skills and the actual coupling measurements. I am teary-eyed and chomping at the bit to get one going for my son. He is coming along with his phonics and reading but man, oh man, is it a monumental chore.
    Thank you, thank you.

  2. steve swain says:

    You could try this approach too. It’s hands-free so the reader can hold the book with both hands or follow along with their finger and not have to worry about “holding the phone”. Also, kids feel like rock stars when they wear it!

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