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Word Wall Words All grades K-8

Sharon D. W.

Full Member
Hello all. I teach first grade in a K-8 school. We are planning a PD session on the use of Word Walls from K-8. Your feedback would be appreciated.

Here are a few questions I have about Word Walls:

- What is the purpose of a word wall?

- Is it set up A a , B b , C c... or is it a chunking word wall? Are there other ways to set up a word wall?

- Do you have it in columns or rows?

- Where is the wall "located"?

- How does it change from grade to grade? How is it the same from grade to grade?

- How does the teacher introduce the words?

- Why does he/she use the words he/she uses?

- What direct instruction do you do?

- What strategies are used for the word wall words in your classroom?

Any other comments you wish to share regarding the use of a word wall are welcome.



Full Member
word walls in third grade

The purpose of a word wall is to give students a reference for spelling high-frequency words, many of which don't follow the usual patterns. Word wall words also serve as examples of word families, blends, prefixes, suffixes, etc. They are also useful as a reference for commonly used and confused homophones (their, they're, there, for example). It's not enough to just have a word wall; you have to "do" a word wall to get the children to notice and pay attention to it on a daily basis. Mine is set up in columns. The columns are arranged in alphabetical order but the words within the columns are not. My classroom has two really long chalkboards. I use one of them as my word wall. I add about five new words a week. I don't specifically introduce the words. When I introduced the word wall to the students at the beginning of the year I told them they should be on the lookout for new words. They love announcing that they've found a new word wall word. I choose words that the students are frequently exposed to in their reading or using in their writing. I have a set time each day where we do various word wall activities. Sometimes we'll "say (the word), snap (the letters), and clap (the syllables)." Sometimes each student is assigned a letter and has to "pop up" when we're spelling a word. Other times they'll pass a ball between them; the person who catches the ball says the next letter of the word. We also do word wall activities that involve writing. I'll point to a word, the whole class says it, and then they write it. After we do five, I have them write a sentence using all of the words. There are also "on the back activities" that involve spelling other words in the word family or adding endings. I do a lot with making words plural and possessive to help the students remember when to use apostrophes. We also play Wordo, like bingo, and "Guess the Mystery Word" where I give them clues and they have to write down what word wall word they think I'm talking about. I also intentionally misuse the words a lot in my morning message that the students correct during Morning Meeting. The students are responsible for using the word wall words correctly in their classroom writing. If they misspell a word from the wall, I give them a sticky note with the word(s) and they have a section of their word study notebook where they have to write the word five times and then use it in a sentence. I got most of my ideas from Phonics They Use by Pat Cunningham which is a great resource. Hope this helps!


Sharon D. W.

Full Member
Thanks Jocelyn - Please share more!

This is great info Jocelyn! Thank you for sharing with me, and to others out there please share your ideas too.



Senior Member
word walls

I agree, Patricia Cunningham's word walls activities are great. I had an opportunity to go to one of her workshops several years ago. Here are some websites to check out.

edhelper.com/wordwalls (to make a wordwall with pictures to go with some of the words)