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Effective Use of Word Walls and Word Cards

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Find how how to use word walls or word flash cards. Learning to read is key to a child's future success and when we discover reluctant readers or non-readers, we are usually quick to assess the methods that will provide success. Although a good early reading program consists of phonics, listening/thinking, letter formation, letter sounds, real reading, and sight words, this article will focus on the importance of phonics using word walls and or word cards.

Phonics is mainly concerned with sounds, learning letter formation, blending sounds and the ability to identify sounds in words. Learning the sounds of letters leads children to the next step - applying the sounds including the blends to hear the words. When main letter sounds are known, the child applies this knowedge to words. For instance, if the popular sounds are learned first (s, t, m, r, ,c, f) etc. the knowledge is then in place for a child to recognize, cat, fat, mat, sat, rat etc.)Word walls can be used from Kindergarten to the eighth grade.

A child needs a set of word cards - or word walls should be in place. Begin with the 'Dolch' words at the appropriate level. Also use the word family cards to extend word knowledge. Again, beginning with the easiest level first.

Activites for the use of Word Cards/Walls

Put the words in alpha order as each is said alout.

Print a rhyming word for 10 of the word cards or word wall words.

Use the cards in a flash game with a partner.

Put the cards in piles - those you can add an 's' to and those you can't.

Write a word wall story, see how many of the words you can use.

Use a timer to see how fast the words can be read.

Change 1 or 2 of the letters of to see if new words can be made.

Write in a journal and underline the word wall/card words.

How many different ways can you add or take away a letter to make new words, i.e., ten - tent - then.

Children must state 5 facts or ask 5 questions begining with their chosen word cards/wall words.

The goals for word wall or word card activities are: being able to read common and word family words accurately and quickly; being able to spell the word card/wall words and self assessing the spelling and reading of the words.

Parent connections are extremely valuable in the reading process. Give parents a list of high frequency (Dolch) words and the word families with a few strategies to support reading at home.

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