This post will offer you 3 great ways to use word walls in your classroom or home school setting.
What's so great about a word wall and why should you use it? Walk into any primary classroom in a school and you will find one or more word walls.
It's not because teachers like to cover every square inch of classroom walls and doors (although it looks that way!) - it's because word walls are a wonderful way to display words that students are learning and need to access regularly. Let's get right to it.
3 Ways to Use a Word Wall
Sight Words/High Frequency Words
We've talked about how the first 300 most common/high frequency words are seen by children in almost 75% of the print they consume so it's pretty darn important for them to be able to read these words accurately and through fast recall.
Their fluency depends on it. And, don't forget, their comprehension depends on fluency (see how this all works together?)
You can post them in alphabetical order to make it easy for your child to find when writing and spelling.
Having these words visible means more exposure and more opportunity to learn them by sight.
Quick access means more fluent writing as well. We don't want them bogged down by spelling when they write. Writing, just like reading, should be fluent.
The cards can be pulled down for flashcard sight word practice, bingo, and matching games.
Word Families (Onsets and Rimes)
Each time you practice a new word family you can add that family to a word wall.
An example of a word family is a chunk of letters that typically represent a sound, like 'ong' in long. Long can be your anchor word and you can practice making as many words as possible from this rime: belong, strong, gong, tong, etc. When your child is stuck on a word you can refer to the word family from your word wall.
Grammar! Nouns, Verbs, and Adjectives, Oh My!
This word wall can be fun and added to over and over. It can be anything you like, from fun words discovered during reading time to vocabulary words learned from new books, to words in your child's environment.
If you live on a farm you can highlight all the words unique to farm life. Or if your child is fascinated with animals you can add animal words to the wall. pigs, messy, snort, ducks, fuzzy, swim...etc.
Be creative and have fun! Think of how much you are building your child's vocabulary with this one.
Remember, children have to see and hear a word at least 12 times before they internalize it. When a child starts using the word in her speech and her own writing, you know she owns it.
Some Tips to Remember
Make your child part of the process. Have her write the words on note cards and place on the word wall where appropriate.
Use colored note cards to break up the black/white monotony and for easier searching.
Once the word wall is no longer needed, pack it away and replace with one for a science or history unit or for states and capitals...there are no limits to what you can use word walls for.
Worried About Space?
Ways to create words walls:
- hang strips from ceiling
- use the back of a door
- use cardboard trifold that can be folded and moved out of the way
- use the closet door
- use a word chart that hangs and can be moved around as needed
- use an easel
- look low and high
Do you have word walls in your home classroom? Tell us what you use them for! If you haven't started a word wall yet, you now have 3 great ideas to choose from.
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