Creating a Personal Word Wall With Early Readers

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Creating a Personal Word Wall

When early readers create their own personal sight word and word wall list, they become responsible for and excited about their own learning. In this word wall activity, the students find words they are learning in their independent reading books and write them on index cards for later use at writing time.


Index cards or this personal word wall template

Independent reading books


Hole Punch

Brass ring, string or yarn

Prior Knowledge: “Students, you have been learning many words (give some examples from the classroom word wall). You have also been learning new words during your independent reading time. Today I will teach you how to create a personal word wall to use while you are reading and writing.”

Teach/Model: “I have a book that I have been reading and am learning new words from.” Use one of the student’s independent reading books. “While reading this book, I have learned the word all. This is a new word for me.” Spell the word a-l-l. Show index card. Say, “I will print the word, all onto my index card. Now, the next time I want to write this word during writing time, I will have it.”

Next say, “I see another new word that I have learned from reading, it is the word, book. Spell book, b-o-o-k as you write it on the index card. “Now I have begun to create a personal word wall. I will take these cards and punch a hole in them. Next I will tie the book together using this piece of string.” Reread the cards aloud that you have created.

Procedure: Small groups work best for this activity. Word work or center-time is a good time to do this activity. Split the class into small groups of 4-5 students per group.

Give the students the materials needed and have them get the independent reading books that they have been reading.

A word of caution: Have the teacher aide or yourself monitor this activity. Some students will copy words that they think they know but cannot recall once the picture support from the book/text is gone. Other early readers like words a lot and will copy the whole book, word for word on the cards, regardless of whether they know the word or not. The teacher or the teacher aide should monitor and review the words that the student has written.

Remind students to retrieve their personal word wall booklets before reading and writing time. Last, have the students store the word wall booklet in their reading and writing bin for Writer’s Workshop time.

For fun, have students print each other’s names into their personal word wall.

Assess: Can students find words in the books and copy them on the index card correctly? When asked, do the students reread the word without the picture support from the book that they got it from? When at writing or reading time, do students utilize the word wall booklet?

Students will enjoy making these personal word wall booklets. They will be proud to read aloud the new words that they have been practicing and will build their own sense of ownership over their reading progress.

This post is part of the series: Teaching Reading: A Series for the Kindergarten Teacher

Below is an outline of some of the reading lessons that I have prepared for this series. Come back and browse again, as more are likely to be added. I have many more in other reading series that I cannot include here. Click on my name to read more, if interested.

  1. Teaching Kindergarteners to Read
  2. Teach Word Recognition to Kindergarteners
  3. A Lesson for Kindergarten on Letter, Number and Word Differences
  4. Creating a Personal Word Wall with this Lesson Plan for Early Readers
  5. Teaching Patriotism in the Classroom with the Shared Reading Model
  6. The Reason for Writing Instruction: A Teacher’s Reflection
  7. Teaching Kindergarteners to Read With Picture Books
  8. Book Review: Word Learning, Word Making, Word Sorting, 50 Lessons for Success
  9. Teach Children to Care for Books: Concept of Print
  10. Use Flash Cards as a Literacy Center Game