A word wall is a pretty simple concept – a visual listing of key words or terms for a particular academic subject. The words could be basic sight words, math or science terms, or a listing of continents or countries. Taking the time to pull out important terms to highlight with your student is valuable vocabulary instruction. There is no one set way to make a word wall, you can create it yourself, or ask your student to write, draw or illustrate the terms. Use colored card stock, index cards, or banner -type garlands. You can alphabetize your list, organize the list by unit, or with the most-used terms at the top of the stack – in other words, in whatever fashion best suits your child.
With a bit of searching, you can find pre-made word wall printables online that will only cost you paper and ink. Here are two good examples of free word wall resources:
Free K-8 Math word printables from a Utah school district
Fry word cards (most commonly used words in English) from The Curriculum Corner
A few minutes of online searching will likely find you plenty of free word wall resources, including templates for creating your own custom printables.
Some of you are shaking your head, saying that a wall in your home dedicated to vocabulary is not practical. Wait! Don’t despair! If you don’t have wall space for a year-long, elaborate word wall display, consider a creative alternative:
*Display a few words at a time on the refrigerator or freezer or near your student’s workspace.
*Write the words on index cards and keep them on rings that are quickly reviewed before a lesson starts.
*Display the words on the back of a bedroom door.
*Print the terms on baseball card-sized paper and keep them in plastic card holders.
*Print and store your words in a reference binder that can be brought out when the subject is being studied.
*Words could be written on small sheets of paper and ‘tipped in’ to your student’s textbook where the word/term was first encountered as a sort of pop-up glossary.
*Fold a sheet of paper accordion-style and write a word on each folded section. Glue on a new sheet of folded paper as the list grows. Keep the paper closed with a rubber band when not in use.
*Create a personal dictionary using a composition notebook. Label each page with a letter and add new terms to the appropriate page when the word is first encountered.
Have fun with the idea of a word wall. Make it your own.