Sound Wall Instructional Tips

You’ve transitioned from a word wall to a sound wall and now you’re wondering how to maximize this tool in your classroom. Make the most impact by using the sound wall as an instructional tool to fuel student learning. We’ve got some helpful instructional tips to help you make the most of your classroom sound wall. Keep reading to learn more and grab a FREE personal sound wall!

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Tip #1 – Know Your Sound Wall

Have a plan for how you will use your sound wall and be intentional about making it part of your day. You will need to educate yourself on your sound wall as well.

Your sound wall will have 4 main parts for each phoneme. There is a mouth articulation picture, the phoneme (sound), an anchor picture, and the graphemes (spelling patterns) for each sound.

Our Teacher Tip Cards are a great resource for educating and helping you better understand each phoneme and how to introduce it to students. They offer wording on how to produce the sound, voiced/unvoiced indicators, tips & tricks for teaching the sound, and spelling generalizations that are important to teach students.

Tip #2 – Go Slow

You do not need to set up the sound wall in its entirety. It is important to make the wall interactive and include students when learning new sounds and spelling patterns of sounds.

Tip: It IS a good idea to have your sound wall spaced out and the framework in place. “Lock” sounds and spelling patterns until they have been introduced.

You will unlock sounds or spelling patterns after they have been explicitly taught. Point out what the lips, teeth, tongue, and voice are doing when introducing the articulation of each sound.

Point out how air is flowing – Can you feel air coming out on your hand? Pay attention to vibration – Can you feel the vibration on your throat?

Tip: A small mirror makes a great tool for students to see what their mouth is doing when they make each sound.

Tip #3 – Review Your Sound Wall

Reviewing your sound wall daily is key to students mastering phonics. Repetition and reviewing are vital for helping your students understand the importance of referencing the sound wall independently. Don’t underestimate the amount of time and repetition it takes for students to master phonemes.

Here is a simple pattern to follow when reviewing the sound wall:

  • Point to the mouth formation card and have students make the sound.
  • Point to the spelling patterns that you have covered for a sound and have students say the spelling.
  • Say the word to match the key image.
  • Say the sound again.
  • Practice with a partner

Tip #4 – Introducing New Sounds

Introduce the new phoneme (sound) and anchor picture. Connect the sound to the anchor picture word.

Discuss the formation of the sound.

  • Use a mirror to watch your mouth as you make the sound.
  • Discuss lips, teeth, and tongue.
  • Feel your throat – Is it a voiced sound?
  • Put your hand in front of your mouth – What is the air doing?

Introduce the grapheme (spelling pattern) you are teaching and unlock it on the sound wall.

Practice sounding out and writing words with the sound and spelling pattern.

  • Say a word and count the sounds.
  • Draw lines for each sound and have students help write the graphemes on each line.
  • Place an emphasis on the new sound and grapheme that were introduced.

Allow students time to practice stretching and writing words with the new sound and graphene.

Tip #5 – Encourage Interaction with the Sound Wall

One way you can encourage students to interact and review the sound wall on a regular basis is through games.


Print a set of sound wall cards and separate the phoneme from the graphemes. Students will take turns flipping over 2 cards to see if they get a match (phoneme with a grapheme). Students should be encouraged to verbalize their matches (“the sound /f/ is represented by the letter F”).

Articulation Charades

Give partners a set of mouth articulation photos. Partners will take turns choosing a card and creating the mouth gesture with their mouth. The other partner will guess the sound they are forming.


Try out a Free personal sound wall first with your students by clicking here! Simply Kinder is here to help you get started with a sound wall and all things SoR. Check out our Science of Reading Bundle HERE for access to our Sound Wall with real mouth photos, decodable readers, centers, small group aides, and more!

At Simply Kinder we work together to bring you ready-to-use resources to partner with great teaching for any curriculum, a Facebook community where teachers talk all things Kindergarten, and low-prep learning ideas that your students will love. Be sure to stay up to date with all things kindergarten on InstagramFacebookPinterest, and through email. Simply Kinder: where teaching Kinder is definitely better together!

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