Sound Play Stories


List of 37 Rimes to Create
List of 37 Rimes to Create > 500 Words (Stahl, 1992).

sample sound play overlay
Sample sound play overlay:
Five Little Frogs follow-up: Target -og.

I like tent said
m c
hate tree
t l
my home cried
p w
your nest yelled
f D
  cabin whispered
pl an
  cave sang
<clear> <speak>

Sample sound play overlay:
My Home follow-up: Target -an.


Stahl provides strategies for "Exemplary Phonics Instruction" (1992). One suggestion is to include rimes (word endings) and onsets (word beginnings). This activity permits students to build words using common rimes and onsets to accompany stories. Combining this with the <speak> function permits the student to hear the word after s/he makes it. The student combines various beginning sounds with the same rime, and listens to the new combinations. The student can also decide if the combination is a "real" word, and if it fits into the story.


This is a great activity for students who do not get to engage in sound play, such as students who are nonspeaking. The activity is most useful if rimes relate to a key topic or story.


Choose a target story. The sound play is related to that story. For example, the rime "-op" might be used when reading Hop On Pop, by Dr. Seuss, while the rime "-an" would be ideal as an extension activity for the story My Home. The list of rimes included in the sidebar may be helpful in identifying a widely used rime.

The overlay is set up with several columns of story construction vocabulary, plus two columns of sound play vocabulary, as illustrated.

Dimension the SuperHawk as appropriate for your story (e.g., 6 x 6 story for "My Home Sound Play."

Record your story vocabulary. Remember to save space for two cells to include <speak> and <clear>.

Add the <speak> and <clear> commands as follows:

Press <PROG> and <MENU> on Tool Bar to enter Programming Mode [light turns red and LCD Display reads PROG].

Press <Program SPEAK> cell [#30]. LCD prompts WHERE? Press location where you want <speak> command.

Press <Program CLEAR> cell [#32]. LCD prompts WHERE? Press location where you want <clear> command.

Move button to PLAY mode and enjoy your story!

Since the lower right-hand cell is activated by Switch #4, a single switch user can press a switch to retell the sound play story!

Note: This trick can be used with any device that offers the <speak> and <play> functions, plus ability to record or call up phonemes. Samples include: Macaw, MegaWolf, and computer options, such as Ke:nx or OverlayMaker + expanded keyboards.

Stahl, S. (1992). Saying the 'p' word: Nine guidelines for exemplary phonics instruction. The Reading Teacher. 45(8), pp. 618-625.

© 1997, Emergent Literacy Success: Merging Technology and Whole Language, Caroline Musselwhite and Pati King-DeBaun


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This material was developed by the National Center to Improve Practice (NCIP), located at Education Development Center, Inc. in Newton, Massachusetts.  NCIP was funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs from October 1, 1992 - September 30, 1998, Grant #H180N20013.  Permission is granted to copy and disseminate this information.  If you do so, please cite NCIP.   Contents do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by NCIP, EDC, or the U.S. Government.  This site was last updated in September 1998.

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