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Level Up Your Reading Instruction With a Digital Sound Wall

Literacy, Phonics, Science of Reading

Written by: Krys Warstillo

If you would have told me a few years ago that a global pandemic would fundamentally change the way I teach my students I would have laughed. Teaching is teaching, right? I would say – kind of. If those challenging months of distance learning taught me anything it’s the value of digital teaching resources. Now, I definitely don’t want to go back to the time of entire days spent staring at a screen but I like blending tech into my lessons. So let’s talk about leveling up reading instruction with a digital sound wall.

How To Use a Digital Sound Wall

Before we hop into ways digital sound walls can help improve your reading instruction here’s a quick video that shows you how to use the digital sound wall. Just in case you need it!

Oh, No! My Classroom Has No Wall Space!

Let’s start with an obvious benefit to using a digital sound wall. Unfortunately, some classrooms just don’t have the wall space needed for a sound wall. They’re big. They are wonderful but they can take up a lot of valuable real estate. If that’s your classroom, then a digital sound wall is what you need. During your literacy block, display the digital sound wall on your board for your students to reference. This way it’s available to them when they most need it but can be “put away” during the rest of the day.

If this is your situation, I would recommend printing out individual student sound walls to keep at their desk. Then, they’ll be able to refer to those during other parts of the day.

Focus On One Sound At A Time

Even if you do have the space needed for a physical sound wall, it can sometimes be a little overwhelming for our little learners. There are a lot of sounds to work through and look at. Try introducing new sounds using the slides in the digital sound wall. This way you can project it nice and big on your classroom wall and keep your students focused on one sound at a time.

Use Digital Sound Walls During Centers

If you have a physical sound wall in your classroom that can be an amazing resource for your students but it can turn into a distraction depending on your group. If your students need reminders beyond the mouth formation images and sample images you may have them interrupting your small group instruction to ask questions. A personal digital sound wall can help prevent that.

If you have 1-on-1 devices or a few that students share, load the digital sound wall to student devices and let them use it during centers. Students can pop in headphones and use the audio examples to work independently. More student independence plus uninterrupted small group lessons is a win for me!

Digital Sound Walls During Independent Writing Time

If you have 1-on-1 devices, this is a great way to up your reading instruction game. Share the digital sound wall with your students so they each have a copy on their own devices. This way, students can reference their sound wall as much as they need to without feeling shy or embarrassed about asking for help. This is especially helpful for English language learners. It provides immediate feedback to students who are learning new sounds.

Send It Home

Science of reading is a phrase that’s everywhere in teacher land and slowly leaking out into the families we serve. Remember when “new math” became the biggest meme on social media platforms? It was a big deal because families were suddenly confronted with teaching tools that they hadn’t used when they were in school. Without support, helpful adults were left confused and understandably frustrated. To help combat that same feeling with sound walls, try sending out a digital sound wall to the grownups!

To introduce the sound wall to adults, try assigning a special homework assignment like:

❤️ Record yourself teaching a trusted adult how to use your sound wall to spell a new word!

If that’s not something that would work with your population, you can send them the link to the sound wall and maybe a quick video of their student using it in class to show off the power of a sound wall!

Feel free to share our Let’s Talk About The Classroom Sound Wall post to give extra information to adults who want it!


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Welcome, I’m Angie!

Hello there! I’m Angie Olson- a teacher, curriculum developer, educational blogger and owner of Lucky Little Learners.

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