Monday, September 19, 2011

Word Wall

 Increasing sight word vocabulary is a daily part of my reading/language arts program with my first grader.  I have word lists from our local school district for kindergarten and first grade.  He had mastered the kindergarten list last year as a public school kindergartener.  I used the lists to assess the first grade sight words he already knew.  Then, each week, I'm adding about 5 "new" words for him to learn.  I am taking these from the unknown words from our first grade sight word list as well as words he doesn't know from the guided reading books we read each day.  His "new" words are added to his "word ring" and he does various things each day to practice them such as stamping them on paper, writing them on a marker board or building them with letter cubes or magnet letters.  I wanted a place where he could refer to these words during writing and also a place where all his "known" words would be easily accessible for more "word work" activities.  I decided to use a folding presentation board (I bought it at Hobby Lobby) and turn it into a portable "word wall."  Many early elementary classrooms have a "word wall" of frequently used words and I think its a very valuable addition to any classroom, including home based classrooms.  I didn't have the wall space in our schoolroom to devote to a word wall, but the presentation board is the perfect solution since it folds flat when not in use.

I used shipping labels (cut in half) to print my alphabet letters.  Then I printed all the words he's already mastered on those teeny tiny return address labels.  These labels come 100 to a sheet and their size is perfect for the presentation board.  In my previous life as a special education teacher, I had a word wall with words that had velcro on the back and attached to a felt-covered bulletin board.  That way as we added new words we could reorganize the existing words in alphabetical order.  With the printed labels, I didn't worry about ABC order.  Some of our "word work" each week will involve having him pick a letter and alphabetize the words beginning with that letter on a separate piece of paper.  I am really happy with how this turned out and I'll post more in the future to let you know how we are using the board.


  1. Awesome! I love how you used a presentation board rather than a wall. I don't have much space in our DININGROOM for posters so this would work great. Wonder how my 1st grader would react to it?

  2. Well, my 1st grader used it today for the first time. He gave me a lop-sided grin and said, "I really like this board!" So hopefully that's a good indication of the response you could expect from your first grader!