Academic journal article Education

The Impact of Word Walls on Improving the English Reading Fluency of Saudi Kindergarten's Children

Academic journal article Education

The Impact of Word Walls on Improving the English Reading Fluency of Saudi Kindergarten's Children

Article excerpt

Introduction and background

A Word Wall is an ongoing, organized display of key words that provides visual reference for students throughout a unit of study or a term. These words are used continually by teachers and students during a variety of activities. Word Walls provide easy entree to words students need. The specific organization of the Word Wall matches the teacher's purpose: sight words organized by alphabet letter, unit-specific words, new vocabulary words, for example (Wagstaff, 1999). Using a Word Wall in literacy instruction requires thought and planning. The most helpful Word Walls raise and change throughout the year, and they are used as a learning reference. Word Walls provide a permanent model for high frequency words (Callela, 2001). They help students see patterns in and relationships between words, thus building phonics and spelling skills. Moreover, they provide reference support for children while reading and writing (Wagstaff, 1999). To sum up, Word Walls can be used to help students build their concept of word skills.

Using a Word Wall as a teaching tool began as a way for teachers to motivate children as they worked to adopt newly learned terminology (Green, 1993). In early childhood classrooms, Word Walls are used to increase children's working vocabularies as teachers strengthen their conceptual development. Older children learn a wealth of new words as they read independently (Anderson & Nagy, 1992). Younger children learn new vocabulary through listening, talking, singing, and exploring new words.

According to research, providing systematic vocabulary instruction significantly increases vocabulary development (Stahl, 1999).Young children learn words best when vocabulary instruction is integrated into their classroom routines (Xue & Meisels, 2004). For prints in classrooms to be useful, children must attend it and interact with it daily (Snow, 1999). By implementing activities, children will develop a routine of regularly using the Word Wall as an instructional tool. Word Walls prove to be useful by encouraging children's active involvement in the learning process, rather than their passive reception of information (Shapiro & Kirby, 1998).

Incorporating physical activity into instruction increases children's learning (Kong, 1999). Word Wall is active through movement and modeling its use. Movement promotes children's thinking as it helps their brains grow and develop (Diamond, 2000). Simply standing up and moving increases blood flow and oxygen to the brain by 15% (Jensen, 1998). The more actively the teacher engages the children in using Word Wall words during lessons, the more the children will use them independently.

Building working vocabularies and conceptual development in young learners can be facilitated through social interactions (Winters, 2004). The more fun and game-like the activities appear to be, the more the class will learn from one another as they learn these new words. Developing a Word Wall and using it during daily instruction will provide a common group of words for the teachers and the students to discuss and explore, while making learning visible to the children.

Association for High-frequency Word Walls are usually located on a bulletin board or wall above or below the alphabet (Cooper & Kiger, 2003) as this location allows the words to be a focal point of the classroom assisting students while reading and writing independently (Brabham & Villaume, 2001). The words are written with thick black marker or colored paper and are placed under the initial letter of the word (Hall & Cunningham, 1999). Children practice new and old words each day by looking at them, saying them, clapping, chanting, snapping the letters, writing the words on paper, and self-correcting the words with the teacher (Hall & Cunningham, 1999). Word Walls also serve to teach word analysis and to build vocabulary from units of study. …

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