Word Walls

Strategy #50

What is a Word Wall?

A word wall is a collection of words posted in the classroom. These words can be new vocabulary, words that are relevant to other units, or just hard-to-remember words that students need reminding of. The book describes word walls as "charts made from construction paper squares or sheets of butcher paper that have been divided into alphabetized sections."


While the above definition is definitely a good one, it can be adapted and changed for each grade level. For Kindergarten or younger grades, using a picture to help students identify the word they are looking for could make it easier to use in the classroom. With upper elementary grades, alphabetizing the wall might be unnecessary. It could just be a collection of words that students add as they come across them in their readings.

How to use a Word Wall

  1. Prepare the Word Wall: make sure to have space in your classroom to construct a word wall before class begins
  2. Introduce the Word Wall: the first time you use the word wall, it might be that some of your students haven't seen a word wall before. Make sure to explain what it is and how to use it.
  3. Add words to the Word Wall: this is the easy part. The class either as a whole or individually with come up with confusing, interesting, or frequently-appearing words to add to the word wall.
  4. Use the Word Wall: the wall can be used for vocabulary activities, and students can refer to it when they are practicing writing.

When should I use Word Walls?

Whenever! Word Walls are useful for literacy lessons, but can help to learn vocabulary during a science unit or to identify difficult words during a social studies project.

Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts

  • Students demonstrate the meaning of grade-appropriate academic vocabulary.
  • Students spell grade-appropriate words conventionally.
  • Students use word-analysis skills to decode words.