With the help of my ever-loyal assistant, Sam, I have checked another task off my summer to-do list! I made 30 reading phones, and they were amazingly cheap, quick, and easy to make.
To make them, you will need 3/4" PVC pipe and 3/4" PVC elbows. For each phone, you will need 3.5" of PVC pipe and two 3/4" PVC elbows. Lowe's had the elbows in contractor packs of 10 for $3.06 (or you could buy them individually for 35 cents apiece). The pipe was 10' in length, but it only cost $2.18. At 3.5" each, the pipe makes 34 phone pieces.
I also bought some colorful duct tape to decorate the phones. This step totally up to you and your tastes. I found the tape at Lowe's for $3.47 a roll, and it came in a variety of colors and patterns. The darker colors are better at covering up the writing on the PVC pipe. With the lighter colors, I found that if I wrapped it multiple times the writing would eventually not show through.
I began by marking the pipe into 3.5" lengths using a tape measure. The pipe is easily cut with a hacksaw, but I used my table saw (don't be afraid of the power tools ladies!). If you're not comfortable using the table saw, you can always ask the hubby to do it! Make sure you wear eye protection because you will end up with a lot of staticy (sp?) PVC snow that flies everywhere! It took me about five minutes to cut the pipe into 34 pieces.
The next step is to put on the duct tape, if you are going to do that. I tried a couple of different ways, and found that the easiest was to just cut a length of tape and roll it onto the tube leaving equal spaces on each side of the tape for the elbows (the elbows will not fit on over the tape).
Then, put one elbow on each end and push them towards the middle. You can glue them if you want, but if you push them on tight enough your students won't be able to get them off (I had a hard time adjusting one when I got it on crooked!)
And here is the finished product. I plan on putting them in a bucket, and letting my students use them as necessary. I have also considered putting one in each student's book box, and then I won't have to worry as much about germs. I'm finding that the longer I teach, the more OCD I get about germs!
Since I chose to put the tape on, it took me about an hour to make them. Without the tape, you could easily have them done in 15 minutes.