Word Walls

Strategy #50

What are Word Walls?

A word wall is a tool used in literacy to help teach vocabulary words. Word walls are made of construction paper, or sheets of butcher paper and typically posted throughout the classroom, so students can refer to them when reading and writing. Word walls can be used in upper grades during thematic units and can be used in primary grades to teach high-frequency words such as, a, are, at.

The significance of Word Walls


  • They provide a visual
  • Used as a reference
  • Connect words to one another
  • See the word repeatedly, which leads to mastering the word
  • Can be used for multiple purposes and subjects (math, science, history).

How to use Word Walls in your classroom


  1. Gather and organize the materials: The teacher uses either construction paper or butcher paper and divides it into 12 to 24 squares labeling each square with letters of the alphabet.
  2. Presents the word wall: The teacher writes words on the word wall and explains them and the purpose of the specific word wall.
  3. Students give input: Students add, or recommend words to go on the word wall throughout their readings, or as their unit progresses.
  4. Reference the word wall: Students refer back to the word wall when participating in activities, or writing.

Word walls for English Language Learners

A word walls is an effective tool that can be used to benefit English learners. Teachers can present word walls to English language learners similar to how they would present them to primary grades. Teachers should provide visuals, that relate to the word, or if the student is making a personalize word wall, they should add their own drawings. Word walls can also be categorized for ELL learns such as, new words, words used in the classroom, academic words. They can be used to teach vocabulary words, phonetic sounds, grammar rules, conversation expressions, etc.

Helpful Hints for word walls

  • Write words large enough, so all students in the class can see them.
  • Have word walls in more than one location.
  • Correct misspellings.
  • Add pictures to the words.
  • Write the plural form of words.

Related to EDEL 461

Teachers could use word walls during assigned readings. Each student could create a word wall for the vocabulary terms they highlighted in Paper Boy, or the students could combine their similar vocabulary words and create a word wall for the whole class.