First Grade Word Walls: List & Activities

Instructor: Melinda Santos
Word walls are a helpful visualize reminder of key words students need to memorize. Read on to identify which first-grade sight words to include on your word wall and find some corresponding activities to help students memorize them.

Selecting Sight Words

Word walls used in early elementary school can help students memorize key sight words that are frequently used in reading and writing. Dolch sight words are a list of 220 commonly used words that are not easily sounded out. The first-grade level words from this list are listed below. Start by telling your students about the purpose of the word wall and then introducing approximately five words per week. You can find useful lessons on teaching grade-level sight words and promoting and assessing sight word automaticity on the website. Or use the activities listed in the next section to help students memorize and practice using the words.


Word Wall Activities

Reinforce sight or vocabulary word memorization by incorporating activities that go along with the word wall. You can use some of the same activities each time you introduce a new set of words, or create new activities to build anticipation. Here are some activity ideas to get started:

  • Pillow Toss: Divide a white shower curtain into 20 squares. Write 20 sight words on large index cards and tape them onto the shower curtain. Include the number of points each word is worth in the top corner of each card. Using a small pillow or bean bag, divide students into two teams, having each team take turns throwing the pillow onto a square. The student throwing the pillow gets a chance to read the word it lands on to get the points. If he/she is unable to read the word, the other team has a chance to read it and score the points. Whichever team scores the most points wins.
  • Whiteboard Relay: Write two lists of sight words on the whiteboard, including enough words for the total number of students participating. Divide students into two relay lines. When you say 'go,' the first person from each line runs up to the whiteboard, points to the first word listed in that team's column and reads it out loud. If they correctly say the word, they can erase it and the next person from the line repeats the process. Whichever team erases all their words first wins.
  • Word Roll: Turn empty Kleenex boxes into sight word dice by taping index cards with sight words written on them to each side of the box. Divide students into groups or teams. Have students in each team or group take turns rolling the 'dice' and then create a story using the sight words rolled.

Teaching Resources

For other useful ideas, check out the ample resources provided on the These resources can be used to create lesson plans and to explore a variety of teaching strategies.

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