What is a Whisper Phone?

Hi tutors,

I had a great group at ESOL tutor training last Saturday, and one of them asked me, “What is a whisper phone”?  As it happens, tutor Sylvia Stella in Cullman did a great job of explaining the “whisper” or “phonics” phone to help with pronunciation practice…and she gave a parts list to make one!  Here it is from Sylvia:

A “phonics” phone is a simple tube shaped like a ‘telephone’ receiver, often made from plastic PVC pipe. There are several different versions of these phones, however most are simple hollow tubes that allow the student to speak quietly in one end and hear their own voice through the other. Students use the ‘phone’ to listen to their own voice as they practice reading/pronunciation. This device allows students to better ‘hear’ themselves when they speak quietly. They also hear more exactly how they are pronouncing the sounds. Use these to help the students learn pronunciation.  These cost me about $2.50 apiece. One of our teachers had a pvc pipe cutter [hardware and home improvement stores might cut these pieces to length for you. lder] to cut the 5’ long pipe into pieces.  All elbows are 1” elbows.


2-90 degree elbows (for ear piece and mouth piece)

1-45 degree elbow (for middle of phone)

1-(approx.) 2-3” pipe for lower section

1-(approx.) 3-3.5” pipe for upper section

phone (2)


Cool, huh?  Thanks, Sylvia!

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