Should I Put Words on a Sound Wall?


A sound wall is a great alternative to a word wall and it aligns with the science of reading. You have likely heard about sound walls but what should you put on your sound wall? Do you include letters, words, and pictures?

Making the switch from word wall to sound wall may seem like a big jump, but it doesn't have to be. You can use your sound wall in a similar way that you used your word wall. However, instead of organized words by their first letter, you will organize your words by their phonemes (or sounds). Need to learn more about a sound wall? Click here to read more about sound walls.

Should I put words on my sound wall?

This is the most common question I get from teachers who are making the shift to a sound wall. You'll get a different answer depending on which expert you ask. I put words on our sound wall. I wanted our sound wall to help my students to be able to encode words and write words correctly. Having words on the sound wall helped them to see examples of the spelling patterns.

We included student names, common words that kindergarten students use in writing, and also our required high-frequency words.

Where do I put the words on my sound wall?

When possible, we sort words by their beginning sounds. However, some high-frequency words are also great examples of vowel sounds. There is no reason you can't display words on both your consonant and vowel wall. You want to be sure that your sound wall doesn't become too busy or crowded that students cannot find the words they need.

Can I still have a word wall?

It depends on what the purpose of your word wall is. A sound wall is a tool to We kept a list (in alphabetical order) of our required high-frequency words separate from the sound wall because those are words we expect students to memorize. I don't agree with forcing kids to memorize words, but it was a requirement.

We also kept a “seasonal word wall” with our social science unit. We displayed vocabulary words with corresponding pictures. This wasn't so much a word wall but more of a way to display vocabulary words.

Ready to jump into sound walls? Click here to join us in Successful Sound Walls to get training videos and all the printables you need!


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