The Power of Word Walls

The folks over at Reading Rockets have great information on the implementation of Word Walls.  They share specific information on Word Wall implementation and specific word wall lists by content area.

A word wall is an organized collection of words prominently displayed in a classroom. Word walls provide easy access to words students need. The specific organization of the word wall will match the teacher’s purpose: sight words organized by alphabet letter, unit-specific words, new vocabulary words, for example. The most helpful word walls grow and change throughout the year and are used as a learning reference.

How to use word walls

  • Make words accessible by putting them where every student can see them. They should be written in large black letters using a variety of background colors to distinguish easily confused words.
  • Teachers and students should work together to determine which words should go on the word wall. Try to include words that children use most commonly in their writing. Words should be added gradually — a general guideline is five words per week.
  • Use the word wall daily to practice words, incorporating a variety of activities such as chanting, snapping, cheering, clapping, tracing, word guessing games as well as writing them.
  • Provide enough practice so that words are read and spelled automatically and make sure that words from the wall are always spelled correctly in the children’s daily writing.
  • New information should be added on a regular basis.
  • Use content-area material from the curriculum rather than randomly selected words.
  • Word walls should be referred to often so students come to understand and see their relevance.

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