An example of what could be found in a Phonetic Object Box.
The lesson for this material is more exciting than you might think. The teacher doesn’t do it all by herself; you get to participate. She’ll name all of the objects, so you know what they are all called, and put them away, closing the lid.
Then, she’ll write something on a small piece of paper while you watch, and fold it a few times, making it pretty small. “Would you please get me this object from the box?” she’ll ask. Then you have to unfold the piece of paper and figure out what she wants. This isn’t hard since you know what she’s calling each object and you know the sounds.
At first it seems surprisingly easy. Then you realize you’re reading—the very thing you’ve been waiting so long to do–and it seems it’s been there, all along, in a little box!
You can get this box any time you want, then, and practice on your own. The objects change from time to time and there’s another little box with printed tickets you can read.
We later learned that sometimes our teacher would go to the office and tell everyone there that another one of us had “exploded into reading,” but in the room she remained rather quiet and didn’t make anything of it.