Posted April 23, 2018 – AWE Learning Staff
Early learners build their vocabulary through a variety of ways, including but not limited to, independent reading, read alouds, conversation, and word walls. A word wall is a collection of words which are displayed in large visible letters on a wall or bulletin board. Word walls serve as a permanent model for high-frequency words and help early learners build phonics and spelling skills.
While word walls are commonly associated with elementary school classrooms, word walls are not exclusive to school settings; they can be created in the Children’s Section of the public library, or the playroom in your home. There is no ‘right’ way to create a word wall for your young patrons; do what works best given the space you have.
Have the library staff introduce the word wall and where it will be located to the young learners. As these early learners come to the library, they will likely check the word wall during each of their visits. Children are inquisitive, and they will be inclined to see what new words have been added, as well as what words they are already familiar with!
Have a felt board for Story Time? Why not use it to introduce word walls to your young learners? Get them involved and hands-on in their learning! Young children are very visual learners. During Story Time, review sight words with the group, and add these to your growing word wall. Sight words are words that should be memorized to help children to read and write. Add these words and other common words that are introduced during Story Time to help build your word wall. Children will learn these words and will have an increased excitement when seeing recognizable words on the wall. The word wall will also assist in learning names and sounds of letters, and most importantly, practice alphabetical order.
Remember, word walls are not limited to sight words. Word walls are encouraged to be multi-curricular. Include vocabulary that early learners can use to discuss a variety of subjects – language arts, number concepts and operations, science terms, history, etc.
When building your word wall, keep the following tips in mind:
- Add words as a group during Story Time.
- Word walls should be student generated.
- Post new words on a regular basis.
- Refer to word walls often to remind early learners it’s there.
- Include words from various curricular areas.