6 Whisper Phone Reading Activities

Posted on September 04 2019

6 Whisper Phone Reading Activities

Discover how parents and teachers can use this reading tool to help kids read.


Whisper phones are an invaluable and inexpensive tool to help children develop confidence and proficiency while reading and speaking. One such tool is the Toobaloo, a small, lightweight auditory feedback device. It allows a child to speak softly into it while listening to the clarity and rhythm of their words. This instant feedback encourages the child to make immediate and ongoing adjustments to their fluency and pronunciation during reading time.

One of the many benefits of a whisper phone is that it’s fun and portable – use it anywhere! From speech therapy and reading in the classroom or at home, the Toobaloo can help. To achieve the most improvement in your child or students’ reading rates, phrasing, and fluency, try these six whisper phone reading activities:

  1. Guided reading
  2. Independent reading
  3. Small group reading
  4. Music class/singing partner songs
  5. Phonemic awareness (PA) activities
  6. Vocabulary practice

Keep reading to learn more about these whisper phone reading activities.

Guided reading

Guided reading requires active participation by a literate mentor, such as a parent, teacher, or therapist. Whether it’s a bedtime story or a classroom activity, this whisper phone reading activity can take on many forms. The auditory feedback provided with a whisper phone during these reading activities can encourage instant self-correction. Children are more likely to pick up on their inconsistencies or habits upon hearing them and can correct accordingly. Teachers may find whisper phones helpful for guided reading because they can take extra time with students who need it while the remainder of the class continues the activity. Whisper phones during guided reading can also help students build higher-level skills like fluency and reading comprehension.

Independent reading

Taking turns in small groups or with a partner is a great way to use a whisper phone.

Another whisper phone reading activity is independent reading. With auditory feedback devices like the Toobaloo, “whisper” is the name of the game. These tools can help an entire classroom of independent readers by allowing them to quietly read aloud to themselves, without amping up the classroom volume. While independent reading with whisper phones isn’t a substitute for guided or partner reading, it does allow children to go at their own pace while improving their skills. Encourage your child or students’ love of reading by setting aside time for them to pick out a book and read independently with their whisper phone. Encouraging your children or students to be good independent readers is a life skill that can nurture their love of learning for years to come.

Small group reading

Partner or small group reading activities with whisper phones can be beneficial because they allow children to learn from one another. They may also keep group members more engaged in the story. In addition to helping with reading and speech skills, a whisper phone can be useful for this reading time activity because it encourages turn-taking. By making it clear to students that they are to pass the whisper phone back and forth, taking turns will become second nature.

Additionally, receiving the auditory feedback that the whisper phone provides may help easily distracted students block out distractions and remain focused on their task. Maximize success by letting partners or groups pick out an age-appropriate book that all group members find interesting. As an additional fun activity, try handing groups a list of complicated but phonemically correct words, such as ‘thesaurus’ or ‘Mississippi.’ Allow the group members to each take a turn at pronouncing one of the words, helping each other out as they go along.

Music class/singing partner songs

Bringing whisper phone to music class might seem like an out of the box idea, but it may prove to be an enjoyableWhisper phones are a great way to achieve phonemic awareness.  way to get children excited about reading! Whisper phones in the music room can help students with their pitch, as well as critical reading skills like fluency and pronunciation. To use a whisper phone as a reading activity in music class, consider encouraging students to sing partner songs. A similar activity as small group reading, each partner takes a turn softly singing their part into the Toobaloo. As they hear the lyrics, students can immediately correct themselves as they also observe and learn from their partners.

Phonemic awareness (PA) activities

To nurture a proficient reader, establishing phonemic awareness is fundamental. Phonemic awareness refers to a child’s ability to recognize and understand individual sounds in a language.  Developing these skills with a whisper phone reading activity should be done systematically, slowly increasing in complexity. For example, start with consonant sounds at the beginning of words. Focus on letters that are distinct and can be elongated for practice, such as ‘M’ (“mmmmm”) or ‘S’ (“ssssssss”). Have the child enunciate these sounds into Toobaloo whisper phone so they can hear themselves pronouncing the sounds correctly. Increase the difficulty over time by joining letters together (‘Ch,’ ‘Sh,’ ‘Oo,’ etc.). You can even practice common endings like ‘-ing.’ Focusing on achieving a higher level of phonemic understanding will amplify your child’s success and enjoyment during reading time, and ultimately make them a better reader.

Vocabulary practice

For students living with speech impediments like stuttering, another reading activity using whisper phones is vocabulary practice. Knowing your child or student’s current skill level, you can ask them to identify different objects or vocabulary words and say their name aloud. With their ear to the whisper phone, they will be able to hear their pronunciation for themselves and self-correct as needed. This individualized activity can help motivate students to make subtle adjustments the next time you ask them to repeat the sound. When used in conjunction with other speech therapy activities, whisper phones may help children overcome their speech impediment.

To help the children in your life who struggle with reading or speech, shop our affordable learning and reading tools for kids online, or call our customer service team at 877.819.2541. For more reading tools, tips, and tricks, continue to our blog.


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