Logic of English has two sound wall templates included as free resources on our website. The first template is organized by phonemes or sounds, and the second is organized by phonograms and spelling rules. You can use one or both templates depending on your preference for displaying words.
Traditional Word Walls
Traditionally, word walls are organized alphabetically, which reinforces the notion that words are acquired through visual memorization. This practice can create confusion when words contain a known sound but have an unfamiliar or unique spelling, such as the /ph/ making the (f) sound in words like phone or photo. Also, organizing words alphabetically does not provide a complete picture of the complexity of the English language or support the evidence on how the brain best learns how to read and spell. The Logic of English templates were designed to help you create word walls that are more in line with the Science of Reading.
The template organized by sound is similar to the Logic of English Spelling Journal in which sounds with only one spelling such as the (ă) in apple are not included. Instead, the sounds to be displayed are more difficult because they can be spelled in multiple ways. An example is the long (ā) sound, which has numerous spelling options including /a/, /ai/, and /ay/ for instance. The sound wall can be utilized by students to aid in making logical decisions when trying to write words with a sound they’re unsure how to spell.
You may opt to use both templates to build a word wall where words are organized by their sound. In the example shown, words containing the long (ā) sound are displayed underneath one of the seven phonograms that can be used to spell that specific sound. You may also opt to display mouth pictures alongside the sounds and phonograms as well. Pictures or graphics of the mouth position helps to draw attention to the unique formation of a particular sound including the position of the tongue, teeth, and lips.
Another option is to organize words by their phonogram. You may find it beneficial to place words under phonograms as they are introduced in one of our core curricular resources: Foundations or Essentials. Logic of English also has a resource called Sounding out the Sight Words which organizes words by common pattern or phonogram. If utilizing this resource, you may find it helpful to delay placing words on the sound wall until a specific phonogram has been introduced. Students can also find words in their daily reading and writing and place them under their corresponding phonogram.
An alternative to organizing words by sound or phonogram is to display words by spelling rules. Focusing on spelling rules helps to transform a student’s understanding of the logical patterns in the English language. Words can be added to this word wall as rules are introduced or incidentally as students encounter them in text.
An important consideration is what to do with sound walls once they’ve been displayed. It’s essential that sound walls be utilized as more than just “wallpaper” or another chart to include in a classroom or school space. Here are suggestions for how to draw students’ attention to the sound wall daily:
- Make sure to add words to the sound wall when new phonograms/sounds are introduced.
- When working on writing, have students reference the sound wall for the spelling of high-frequency words
- Have students practice reading words underneath a specific phonogram/sound in order to build word reading fluency.
- Make it a game: choose a word from the sound wall and segment it into its individual phonemes. Have students blend the sounds together to discover the word.