Sound-Spelling Wall Cards

“Don’t worry about spelling, just write.” This is what I used to tell students when they asked me how to spell a word. This is what I was told to relay to students because according to the experts, correcting a student’s spelling errors would take away their motivation to write. 

When students turned in essays with countless errors, I just grumbled in silence.

But, now that I know better…I do better. When I teach a child to read, I also teach that child to spell and I use the sound wall to help students make the connection between reading and writing. 

Reading and Spelling are two sides of the same thing, and the trouble starts when you start separating the two. Rudolf Flesch, Why Johnny Can’t Read

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Setting up Your Sound-Spelling Wall

The Sound-Spelling set is not an alphabet set. There are a total of 47 cards. Each card has the sound noted in parenthesis.

Students should be able to understand the sound (phoneme) and the way it is written down (grapheme).

I mentioned there are 44 speech sounds, but I’m not sure the experts agree on the exact number. I created a set of 47 to include /kw/, the sound for qu. I also included two sounds for x, /ks/ as in fox and /gz/ in exam. We’ll call these “borrowers”.

The Sound-Wall Cards can be divided into 7 sections: 

Short-Vowel Sounds
Consonant Sounds
Long-Vowel Sounds
R-Controlled Vowel Sounds
Diphthongs and
Other Special Sounds

Once I posted the cards for the sound wall, my students made full use of it! And isn’t that the point?

I encourage you to trade out your word wall for a sound wall.

Help your students make the connection between reading and writing and strengthen both skills concurrently.

You’ll add words as you introduce them throughout the year. You can also have your students replicate the wall in their reading/spelling journal. 

Until next time, patience and practice!

Angelica Lima