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A Word Wall is a strategy to reinforce the core vocabulary of a specific subject. Teachers select new words, technical terms, and words that frequently recur and print these words in bold block letters on cards. Teachers post these cards on a highly visible wall or bulletin board as students confront them in reading or discussions. Note: the Word Wall is built one word at a time as students encounter new terminology.

Students review terms on the Word Wall as a "warm up" activity before lessons. Everytime one of the words appears in the lesson, the teacher reinforces it by pointing it out on the Word Wall. Repetition is the key to the Word Wall's success. Teachers often incorporate Word Wall terms into learning games, like "Rivet" and the "Dictionary Game."

Steps to a Word Wall:

  1. Identify the key vocabulary words that students need to know for a specific topic or reading assignment.

  2. Print the words in large block letters on cards for posting on a prominent (always visible) wall or bulletin board.

  3. Post the word cards as the terms are confronted in classroom discussion or reading.

  4. Regularly review the terms on the Word Wall. Have students read them aloud as a "warm up" exercise. Frequently call on students to "refresh" their classmates' memories of the definitions of these words. Reinforce these vocabulary words by including them in learning games and activities.

Learn More:

  • Cunningham, P.M. & Allington, R.L. (1999). Classrooms That Work: They Can All Read and Write. Addison-Wesley Educational Publishers Inc.

  • Word Walls