Word walls were a must in my classroom. And to be honest, I still have one. However, teachers are taking a different route when it comes to learning new words. Sound walls are now an alternative to word walls in many early elementary classrooms!
What is a Sound Wall?
With the popularity of Science of Teaching Reading, the phonics approach is taking a new turn. Before sound walls, we added words to our word wall alphabetically. Having an alphabetical sight word wall is better than nothing, but I feel like my learners get more out of sound walls!
Sound walls focus on the articulation of sounds and letter patterns the represent phonemes in words. Basically, sound walls focus on sounds rather than the whole word. And words are grouped by the sounds rather the beginning letter of the word.
Ways to Use Sound Walls
There are several ways you can use sound walls. Many teachers have the wall space and can create a really cool visual of the different phonemes. You can build this word wall as you go, after you introduce each sound.
Above it, you can have an alternative to your alphabet wall! The letter sounds that are left over can go above for quick reference.
Those that don’t have the extra wall space (like me) you have to be a little more creative! I have a stand that is made from PVC pipe that I’ve used for years! It’s perfect to feature the sounds we are covering in our phonics unit!
Easy Reference for Students
Included in my Sound Wall pack is a personal copy of the sound wall for your students. This way your students can keep this as reference in their writing or phonics folder! Laminate them to keep them sturdy all year long!
I’ve grown to love my sound wall in my classroom! They are a great alternative to word walls, and I guarantee you’ll see a difference in your learners!