Teaching vocabulary and extending word learning is one of the most important activities you can be doing with your students. The goal is to create a language-rich environment that fosters and supports word learning for every student. Language-rich environments encourage reading, writing, and conversation to build rich vocabularies and increase word learning.
Word walls are a great tool to accomplish that goal. I find that when teachers think about word walls, the immediate image that comes to mind is a word wall of high-frequency words arranged in alphabetical order. Word walls can and should be so much more!
First, word walls belong in every K-12 classroom! They serve as an important support for vocabulary and word learning across content areas. Words walls will look different depending on the grade you teach, the content area for which you are responsible, and may include different words if you’re teaching in rural Indiana compared to a suburban or urban setting.
In Top Tips for Word Walls, I’ve included 26 ideas for words walls that go beyond an alphabetic display of words. You’ll find pictures and examples of word walls to support guided reading, content area instruction, writing, and more. Do you have English language learners in your classroom? See ideas to help you build their growing vocabulary. Limited on space? Portable word walls may be just the answer. The Word Wall tool (see image) also includes great pictures of many types of words walls – even in the hallway!
Download “Top Tips for Word Walls” (click tag below) and begin thinking about how you could include word walls, journals, and hallway word walls to support vocabulary development with your students.
If you liked this post, check out these vocabulary resources:
- Tool 2: Concept Circles
- Tool 5: Marzano’s 6-Step Vocabulary Process
- Tool 7: Alphaboxes Graphic Organizer
- Tool 10: Infographic: Top 10 Characteristics of Effective Vocabulary Instruction
- Tool 11: Anchored Word Learning – a read aloud & vocabulary strategy
- 5 Simple Steps to Better Vocabulary Instruction
- 21 Digital Tools to Build Literacy and Vocabulary
- Teacher Toolkit: Vocabulary Resources
A huge shout out to Pam Hardy (Principal), Ben Markley (Assistant Principal), and the great teachers at Garden City Elementary School (Indianapolis, IN) for the hard work you’ve done to advance word learning with your students. Thanks for these great examples of word walls that rock!
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