Preschool Word Walls

Instructor: Kimberly Elliott

Kimberly teaches college humanities and has a master's degree in humanities.

A word wall is an invaluable asset to preschool classrooms. As preschool-aged children are just becoming familiar with the alphabet and the written word, a word wall is a fun and helpful tool to utilize in the early stages of pre-reading. Check out some of the ways you can incorporate a word wall into your preschool classroom.

How to Create a Word Wall

To create a word wall, place the letters of the alphabet along one wall of the classroom, at the children's eye level. The letters should be large and colorful and should feature a corresponding picture of something easily recognizable by the students. The letters should remain up year-round, but the words beneath them should change over time. Here are some ideas of the types of words that can be included in a preschool word wall.

Name Game

Start the year with children mounting their own names and photos under the appropriate letter. First, take a digital photo and create picture name cards for each child. Print the names in an easy-to-read, large font. It is helpful if the first letter of each name is in a different color to set it apart from the rest. Pass the name cards out to each student and introduce the word wall. Show them how the first letter of their name is the letter under which they will mount their name card. Then, help children find and mount their name card under its respective letter on the word wall.

Meaningful Words

In addition to students' first names, it is helpful to add meaningful words to the word wall. This helps to familiarize children with the letters that make up words and allow them to see the words on a regular basis. For preschoolers, these are words they use every day, such as mom, dad, sister, brother, dog, and cat, just to name a few. Introduce these new words during your daily circle time, or any other time when your class is relatively calm. Enlist a volunteer to help mount the new cards under the appropriate letters. Refer to the words often to reinforce the new words with your students.

Theme Words

As you progress through the year, you can use the word wall to familiarize children with words from the themes you cover, for example:

  • Number words: one, two, three, etc.
  • Colors: red, orange, yellow, etc.
  • Fruits and vegetables: apple, banana, carrot, etc.
  • Animals: bird, mouse, lion, etc.

Additional Resources

To get a better understanding of emergent literacy and additional activities you can use to support children at this stage, check out these innovative resources from

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