The Word Wall was one of the most used resources and interactive decorations in my classroom! Using the classroom word wall was very important when I taught Kindergarten and First Grade and so was teaching the kids how to use it! Now I have one in my house for my own kids. A Word Wall is a wonderful tool that can be used in any early learning classroom or home! Just think of an alphabetized word list up on the wall and each letter is in ABC order. Next, any words you are learning and using are categorized under their beginning letter. There are many ways to Boost Learning with a Word Wall. Even the process of building a word wall with your early learner can be fun and educational.
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What is a Word Wall?
A Word Wall is the alphabet posted in ABC Order. The words that are being learned, read, and discussed in class are added to the word wall. Words are placed under the letter with which they begin. Here are some awesome examples of word walls!
What Skills Do Word Walls Help With?
Sight Word Recognition
Any chance that kids get to see the Alphabet- letters A-Z, is a chance to learn them. Reading the alphabet is the first thing you will do with your work wall. Next is reciting the ABC’s and looking at their order. and after that reading the words from right to left. Make sure the letters have enough space to add at least 10 words under them. Some teachers create portable word walls. The words are on a key ring with the letter card first and facing out.
The next thing to add to your word wall is your Kiddos names.
A childs name is usually the first word they learn to recognize in print. In the beginning, get them to trace or write their own name and then add it to the wall under the beginning letter. If you are creating this word wall at home be sure to add everyone in the Family’s names, pets too. The Kids can look at the wall every day and practice copying the letters in their name.
After names, the next thing to add is sight words.
Sight words are some of the first, small, easy words kids learn. Many of the sight words can be sounded out but they are usually easier to memorize. The words are separated into groups based on the developmental age they will learn those words the easiest. There have been several professional and researched sight word lists compiled. The are public knowledge and can be googled and printed from many sources.
Dolch: This word list is named after its creator, Edward William Dolch. He used the top read children’s books of the 1930s to create the list. It is separated by grade.
Fry: This word list is more modern and names for its creator, Dr. Edward Fry. The list was last updated in the 1980s and again used the most common words that appear in books for grades 3-9.
A mix of the two! You don’t have to use one of these exclusively! A combination of the two works fine and many early learning curriculums will even include their own list of sight words that are used in their reading material!
When the sight words are new, only add 1-3 a week and practice the same way as you did with the name. As a result, each week you will have more and more words added. Do your best to get your kiddos to have them memorized before adding more because if you throw to many at once they will become overwhelmed.
Activities to Do with Sight Words on the Wall
Use a Word Wand to find the matching word in a book or other text.
Or use a Word Wand to find other words with the same first letter.
Here are two of the words wands I have available in my Download Library. There are many other styles included.
Trace or write the words. (Use all different types of writing tools and processes.-Crayon, pencil, marker, chalk, paint, play dough, sequence pillow, etc.)
Read a word and say a sentence with it for your teacher or parent to write. Draw a picture to go with it. If they are more advanced have them write the sentence!
Once many words have been added to the wall it can be a great resource for a beginning writer. If they forget how to spell a word but remember the beginning sounds, then look for help on the word wall. Also, if your kiddos need to do some writing practice but don’t know what to write? Then pick a word from the wall and make a sentence with it.
Labeling is one of the beginning stages of writing. Kids write words next to their drawings.
The next step words for the word wall will be nouns an adjectives. Some will be helpful with a small picture included. For example, when you are working on a particular theme or holiday in your home or class you can choose some of those words to add to the wall. Kids get more exposure to the letters and your beginning writers have something to help them build confidence in using those words to write!
I like to follow a lot of nature schooling bloggers and parents. A nature word wall would be a great way to get some of your kids writing and learning about the things they encounter out in nature. For instance, labeling your nature collections could be used as a word wall!
Groups of words to add after sight words include:
Days of the Week
Months of the Year
Describing Words (tall, short, big, small, etc.)
Word Walls can be a fun and functional way to boost learning and many preschool skills. With enough practice and attention, your kiddo may be able to use it for independent play and learning. Want to learn more about getting your kiddo to play and work independently? Check out3 Magic Ingredients for Successful Independent Playtime!
Here are some ideas for some games you can play using the word wall:
Word of the day!
Highlight one of the words. Have your kiddo write the word with a special pen. When reading if they can find the word they get points. Ten points get a prize!
This is a classic game you can play with your kids taking turn who chooses the word and who guesses the word.
Call out the word and have your kiddo use a fly swatter to hit the word and identify the match.
All of my Busy Box Post Have Word Wands! Join my Subscribers to get access to all of the for free!!! I will be working on adding sight word printables for each Busy Box Theme as well.