Spelling can be difficult for some students but if you follow these tips on how to make a word wall in your home, you can make spelling less stressful for you and your child. This post will offer you 3 ways to make a word wall 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!) rather, it’s because word walls are a wonderful way to display words that students are learning and need to see regularly.
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3 Ways to Make a Word Wall
You can spend money to buy the templates and pre-populated words from a package sold online, or you can simply create your own word wall using 3″X5″ colored index cards, markers, and some tape or sticky tack. You don’t need a wall to create a useful word wall, at the end of this post, you’ll find some tips on how to make a word wall even you are short on space.
A Word Wall for Sight Words/High-Frequency Words
This is an important fact: the first 300 most common/high-frequency words are seen by children in almost 75% of the print they consume.
This means more than half of everything they read will have many of the high-frequency words found on common high-frequency word lists, so it’s pretty darn important for them to be able to read these words accurately and through fast recall.
Typically, these are words that are referred to as sight words because they cannot be sounded out, words that do not follow phonics word patterns, or words that they will see regularly in their day to day reading and include words like the days of the week, color and number words, and common pronouns. These are also words that your child will use in his writing on a regular basis but words that many of us have struggled to learn to spell.
If spelling does not come easily for your child, give him the support he needs when writing by putting these words in his line of sight. It will build his confidence when writing, make him feel supported as he’s learning to spell, and keep them in his line of sight for long-term memory activation. It is important to review these words but not at the sake of frustration and memorization for memorization’s sake only.
It’s better that he uses his time writing creatively and crafting sentences and paragraphs than stressing over if i comes before e in their or if February has two r’s or just one.
Some tips regarding high-frequency words and sight words
- 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.
The cards can be pulled down for flashcard sight word practice, bingo, and matching games.
We offer a complete list of Fry’s Instant Sight Words on page 119 of Teach a Child to Read with Children’s Books.
A Word Wall for 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.
We offer a list of the most common word families on page 128 in Teach a Child to Read with Children’s Books.
A Word Wall for 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 or 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 When You Make a Word Wall
- 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 and markers 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 for Your Word Wall?
Creative ways to create word walls in the home:
- hang strips from the ceiling
- use the back of a door
- use cardboard trifold that can be folded and moved out of the way
- use the closet door–inside too!
- 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. Post of picture of your word wall in the Facebook group!