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Tips for Getting the Most Out of Sound Wall Charts

As with any teaching resource, there are different ways sound wall displays can be introduced, displayed and utilised.  As sound walls are a fairly new instructional tool, it is important to provide information on how to use them to their full potential. Click here if you would like to read more about sound walls and SSP, and how they are superior to phonic word charts.

Tip 1: Build the Sound Wall Display Gradually Over Time

PLD does not advocate displaying all of the charts in a display at the beginning of the school year.  Only display the sounds that have been explicitly taught to the class.  Sound wall displays will extend over time and reflect the teaching and learning that has and is occurring within a classroom.

Tip 2: Use the Sound Wall Display as a Tool for Daily Review

Elevate daily instruction and promote automaticity during whole-class instruction by reviewing the concepts on the sound wall display every day.  Referring to the display as often as possible will encourage students to reference the charts during independent work.  

Tip 3: Focus on the Mouth (& Sound Production)

Focus students on phonemes and enhance the connection between speech and print.  Use the articulation cues to focus on what the lips, teeth, tongue and vocal chords are doing to produce the sound. Remember, as teachers you are not expected to deliver ‘speech pathology’ articulation prompts, but the charts feature snappy, simple, and accessible descriptions for teachers and students alike. 

Tips for Getting the Most Out of Sound Wall Charts

Tip 4: Focus Students From the Top to the Bottom of Each Chart

Start at the top of the charts and orientate students to the phoneme and how it is produced. Next, the middle section of the chart links phonemes to graphemes (letters) representing that sound. Finally, words can be added to the word bank area at the base of the chart. 

Tips for Getting the Most Out of Sound Wall Charts

Tip 5: Add New Words as a Matter of Routine

A sound wall display should not be a static display. In the dedicated area at the base of the charts, additional words are to be added over time. In this way, teachers and students will create classroom-specific word lists collaboratively. 

Concluding Words

Remember, sound wall displays will only be a useful tool if they are matched with tight, structured, and explicit phonic instruction. The displays are a support and reference item that will complement high-quality classroom instruction.

Further Reading

Sound Walls & Structured Synthetic Phonics Programs

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