Should We Build a (Word) Wall?

Teacher question:

What are your thoughts about sound walls and word walls? I don't necessarily think these would replace a word wall...do you? The video and training can be found here for sounds walls: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxV4Rq1F00M&feature=youtu.be My response was this: I think for oral language, phonemic awareness and phonics the sound walls are awesome, and very helpful visually for beginning readers to unlock how sounds, symbols and words are put together. I think these types of walls would be seen more in PreK, K and maybe 1st grade in the first semester

Shanahan response:

Word walls?… man, I saw a lot of word walls during the 1990s. Patricia Cunningham’s “four block” was very popular and many teachers (and administrators) thought the epitome of high quality teaching was best demonstrated by lists of alphabetized high frequency words hanging from the classroom walls (Cunningham, 1991).

To tell the truth, while I like many of Pat’s instructional approaches (like “breaking words”), I was not a big fan of word walls. The two major ways I saw them being used made no sense to me.

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