Wall Words Must Support Reading

Wall words in every subject should support reading. Words on walls can be fun to learn and practice when using word wall activities kids like.

Every teacher in every subject should be working to increase the vocabularies of students.

My years as a reading specialist raised my awareness of the importance of supporting reading because it is the single most important skill children will learn in school. We are all responsible for helping children read.

So when I returned to middle school math this year, I started thinking of ways I could accomplish this. I began by organizing my classroom to support cooperative learning because this is the place to begin building vocabulary.

We started building math word walls together in order to learn the math terminology that is part of the language of math , and we played a variety of games and activities with our wall words.

But I wanted more activities that would specifically help develop and support reading skills.

Song Lyrics

One way I decided to include more reading in my math classroom was to write songs for us to sing before taking turns reading lines of words on the word wall.

I projected the lyrics on the screen for students to read as we sang.

Here is one of our favorites:

Word wall song

Press the play button to listen to us sing it!

I incorporate a steady beat to improve memory by letting students play our very cool Paper Jamz drums or the drum kit app on my Droid smartphone.

Drum Kit app

Drum Kit app on smartphone

Special Society: Induction into the Order of the

Masters of the Word Wall

"Mrs. Jones, what do we get if we can read ALL the words on the word wall?

It all began with one simple question. And so the society of the Order of the Masters of the Word Wall was born.

My students are all eager to be "in" the order, and when one of them is able to read all 100+ words correctly, I use our Star Wars saber to "dub" him or her "Sir _____ _____, of the Order of the Masters of the Word Wall."

Each receives an extra test grade of 100 and is included on a list of students posted outside the door of our classroom.

I did not dream it would "catch on" like it has, but they are constantly wanting to read the words for a chance at being inducted into the society. After achieving it, some of them even write their names thereafter including the title of "Sir!"

Go to the Language of Math from Wall Words
Go to Math Word Walls from Wall Words

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Language Rich Word Hunts for Reading Comprehension

In my quest for math word wall activities which would support reading, particularly reading comprehension, I developed word hunts which require that students read carefully for meaning.

Since word walls are built and practiced with children throughout the year, no two will be exactly the same (and our words move around as we need to concentrate on certain ones) so the activities here are examples which I hope will inspire you to create your own using the words on your own walls.

My students work on them when they finish a test, and I like that because I feel that they are doing a quality activity during this time.

For a closer look, clicking on the image above will open a PDF version of the hunt.

Another example:

Word Hunt Example 1

Teachers Particularly Important to Reading

The contribution of PE, art, music, and drama teachers to reading is not widely known and is often not recognized. They can bring some children to reading more quickly and easily than anyone!

PE Teachers

Because there is such a strong connection between physical coordination and reading, the work done in physical education is essential.

Brain Exercises and Coordination
Physical Coordination and Reading

Art Teachers

For children who are right-brained (often left-handed) the work of art teachers is critically important to reading. Classroom teachers can also help these children by including art in their instruction.

Art in Education
Teaching Math with Art

Music Teachers

The brain loves music, and it often opens the door for memory and recall. For right-brained students it, like art, is essential for reading.

Music Education in Schools
Benefits for Music Education

Musical PE Programs

Musical PE programs offer the best of two of these areas, making them ideal to support reading.

Carrie Flint of Musical PE Plus has wonderful information on her website and also offers presentations on how to incorporate music into physical education programs.