Are you ready to make the switch to a sound wall in your classroom, but you’re not sure where to begin? We have some easy tips for setting up your sound wall that will help you make the most of this impactful tool for your students.
Check out these related posts:
- Science of Reading Activities in Kindergarten
- Sound Wall Updates for Teachers
- Sound Wall Games for Kindergarten
- From Word Wall to Sound Wall
These activities go well with these resources:
Consider Your Space
Our first tip for setting up a sound wall is to consider your classroom space. You will need a good bit of space to display your consonant and vowel charts. They will need to be separate from each other. You may need to rearrange some furniture to make this work, but we promise it’s worth it. Some ideas for displaying your consonant and vowel charts are below:
- Classic Bulletin Boards
- Cabinet Space (shrinking the sound cards when printing works well if using cabinet space)
- Large Pocket Charts
- Your Classroom Wall (jazz it up with some bulletin paper and border)
- Tri-Fold Project Boards for mobile charts if wall space is limited
We offer personal sound walls which are a great tool for students to have at their seats in addition to the displays in your classroom. Grab your copy HERE at Simply Kinder.
Unlock the Sound Wall with Your Students
Build your sound wall with your students as you unlock sounds. You will want to space your charts out at the beginning of the year so the structure is there as you build the charts.
Begin the year with your mouth articulation photos. You may need to “lock” some of these depending on what your students know at the beginning of the year. Kindergarten could be blank to begin the year. You will want to have phonemes displayed (and reviewed) that were taught in a previous grade if teaching above kindergarten.
Unlock the phonemes as you teach and practice each one with your students. You can use yellow sticky notes or the locks provided in our Science of Reading Activity Bundle to lock sounds you have not yet covered.
Lock and unlock the spelling patterns (graphemes) to fit your student’s needs. You can teach the most common spelling pattern for a sound and uncover the other patterns as you learn them or see fit for your students.
Other Tips to Consider
- Organize your sound wall pieces into groupings based on how they will go on the chart. This will save you a lot of time when putting your wall together.
- Find a friend to help you create your sound wall. This is fun and another time saver.
- Review our Teacher Tip Cards that are included in the Science of Reading Activity Bundle to learn more about the 44 phonemes so you can best support your students.
- Focus on one sound at a time. Follow your core curriculum scope and sequence. If you don’t have one, we recommend Recipe for Reading as a good starting point.
- Spend lots of time discussing how the sounds are formed. Where is the tongue? What are your lips doing? What are your teeth doing? Does the air move or not move (vibration in the throat)? Model this for your students and allow them to use mirrors to see their mouths making the sounds.
- Remember to only unlock the sounds and spelling patterns that you have taught and uncover new sounds and spelling patterns as you progress.
- Review your sound wall on a regular basis.
- Model and make the connection by using the sound wall to decode and spell words.
Science of Reading Activity Bundle
Shifting from a word wall to a sound wall can feel intimidating, but it will provide so many great benefits for your students! Our Science of Reading Activity Bundle can be found HERE and includes many instructional resources that will complement your sound wall. Check out the Sound Interactive Notebooks, Alphabet Printables, Sound Brochures with real mouth photos, and so much more.
Let us help make the transition easier by joining Simply Kinder + HERE and unlock unlimited access to all of our Science of Reading resources.