A word wall is an alphabetical list of words posted in the classroom. Sight words, as well as students’ names, are often included in the list, with up to five additional words added weekly. A word wall differs from a word bank; its purpose is to help students come to routinely incorporate high-frequency and content-specific words in their writing and to recognize and use general spelling patterns. Follow these suggestions for making the word wall an effective part of your classroom.

  • Choose a bulletin board or designated portion of a classroom wall that will remain your word wall for the entire school year.
  • On separate sheets of colored paper, write words in large letters with a black marker. Consider using different paper colors to help students visually distinguish between similar words, such as when and then.
  • Make sure that the words are easy to reposition. That way, you will be able to maintain alphabetical order as more words are added during the year.
  • Use stickers or other marking devices to designate words that share similarities. For example, you might place stickers next to the words big, pig, twig, and wig.
  • You may wish to establish a classroom routine for each word you add to the wall.
  • Encourage students to consult the word wall, as well as draw on their understandings of letter sounds, to help them express their ideas during independent writing activities.
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