Science of Reading Sound Wall Ideas for Elementary Teachers – 2023

Through the Science of Reading research, we are learning and identifying shifts that teachers must make, backed by science. Many times, when you walk into a classroom, you see a Word Wall. Research is showing, however, these are not the most useful tools! Hearing a lot about Sound Walls, but unsure of how to implement them in your classroom? Read more to learn about the Sound Walls and its relationship to the Science of Reading!

What is a Science of Reading Sound Wall?

A Sound Wall emphasizes the articulation and speech patterns of given phonemes and their relationship to letters, or graphemes. 

Are Sound Walls Research Based?

Currently, research is being conducted about Sound Walls. With that said, there is data proving that they are more effective than Word Walls. 

Why is a Science of Reading Sound Wall Important?

As the Science of Reading has shifted our emphasis to phonics, students require a visual to anchor their learning and reference. A Sound Wall is important because it emphasizes how we hear, see, and feel sounds. 

Is a Sound Wall Appropriate for Kindergarten?

Yes! You can pair down a Sound Wall to include the concepts you teach. No need to add concepts like vowel teams… yet! 

What Grades Should Use a Sound Wall?

All grades in elementary school can benefit from a Sound Wall! A Sound Wall can be integrated into any phonics curriculum and can be modified to best fit your current unit or grade. 

How Do You Start a Sound Wall?

Start small! Begin by presenting speech sounds, watching how our mouth forms, and then show the corresponding grapheme. Each time you introduce a sound, add it to the Sound Wall! Just be sure to have a clear vision of where they will all go before you begin. 

5 Steps to Use a Sound Wall Effectively

Below are 5 steps for how to use a sound wall effectively.

1. Introduce the Sound

When making the sound, have students notice the mouth and tongue movement, as well as feeling if the sound is voiced or unvoiced

2. Match Sound and Letter

After making the sound movement, label with letters, or the grapheme. 

3. Key Words

Key words help students retain the partnership between letter names and sounds. Show a visual of the key word and place on the Sound Wall under the letter. 

4. Daily Practice

Students should practice interacting with the Sound Wall daily. You can play games like “Guess My Letter” or use the Sound Wall cards in small form to play Go Fish or Memory.

5. Sound Wall Independence

To show true mastery of skills, students should practice using the Sound Wall independently. This could be during morning work, word work, or even as a movement break. 

In closing, we hope you found this post about science of reading sound walls helpful! If you did, then you may also be interested in these posts:

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