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Friday, May 31, 2013

Teaching Vocabulary; Interactive Word Wall Strategy

By Galih Ariffansyah

There are many ways to teach vocabulary, one of them is by using Interactive Word Wall. Before we explore what is Interactive Word Wall, I would like to explain what is the term of vocabulary first, then what is the Interactive word wall, then how to implement the strategy.

What is vocabulary?

According to ( Vocabulary is the group of words that a person or group of people knows how to use. Another definition according Vocabulary also is a group or stock of words used in a particular way by a certain group of people regarding their language. It is simply the words of a language.

The basic component in English is vocabulary, it is because the term of vocabulary states that vocabulary is made by the agreement of group of people regarding to their language. So, in another words, vocabulary refers to a word. Word is generally a vocabulary. 

In vocabulary, there are some words which is categorized into their part of speech. For example, "She" is a noun, that is a word which is also a vocabulary. Moreover, vocabulary always has meaning, there is no vocabulary without its meaning.

In Indonesia, when learning a new language, we expose to new words. For instance, we want to know what is the meaning of 'child' in English, if we do not know the meaning, then we can not use the word. In fact, in Indonesia, learning English is obligatory. Most of the students are still unaware about English. Meanwhile, the teacher has an important role to raise the students' awareness of English, especially about their vocabulary.


What is Interactive Word Wall?

A word wall is literacy tool composed of an organized (typically in alphabetical order) collection of words which are displayed in large visible letters on a wall, bulletin board, or other display surface in a classroom. The word wall is designed to be an interactive tool for students or others to use, and contains an array of words that can be used during writing or reading (on Wikipedia, 2013)

The interactive word wall strategy promotes a vocabulary rich-environment where walls are alive with words. The key to implementing this strategy is interactivity. The class walls are adorned with new and interesting words that the students learn through interacting with their texts, teacher, or their peers.

To promote interaction and dialogue, around the words, it is important to keep the words relevant, that is the posted words (on the wall) should be focal point for thinking about and noticing how and when they are used. It means that when the words are poster on the wall, they can always be used on students' needs in reading or writing where the words are frequently used and appeared (Patricia Antonacci & Catherine M. O'Collaghan, 2012: 105)

There are some tips to support our interactive word walls, (Patricia Antonacci & Catherine M. O'Collaghan, 2012: 105)
  1. Incorporate the Interactive Word Wall strategy as part of the word study instructional routine. It means whenever you teach English, promote the students to always use this strategy when they have any difficulties in words 
  2. Select the display wall carefully; making sure that it is at eye level and large enough to post the words. Teachers must create the word wall bigger so students can see clearly. 
  3. Decide on how you wish to display the words, such as alphabetically or organized by themes or content areas. There are many kinds of word wall example, there are alphabetically and themes, you can see, that is the example of alphabetical word wall, and that one is the theme word wall. 
  4. Write the words legibly on oak tag or paper, demonstrating appropriate handwriting. The teachers or students write the words in an oak tag or paper in a good handwriting, so other students can understand the handwriting.        

When to Use this Strategy?

This strategy can be used before, during, or after reading. The teacher may use the word wall to introduce new vocabulary prior to reading. During the reading, students are encouraged to find words that are unfamiliar and that should be placed on the word wall to learn. After reading, the class may also be used outside reading as a review or practice, such as when the teacher asks the students to “read the wall”, then they find the unfamiliar word on the word wall and they understand the meaning. As a result, word walls are resources for students and should be used when they are looking for new and interesting words to use in their writing.

How to Implement this Strategy?

  1. Establish a purpose for using the word wall. Word walls may be used to help students learn high frequency words, or they may be used to develop vocabulary around a theme. For example, themes for word walls may include the tropical rainforest, biography, or anything you want to teach. 
  2. Select the words that are targeted for instruction. Select a few words for teaching and post them on the wall. Words on the wall need to be spelled correctly and written legibly, as students will be encouraged to use the word wall as a resource for their reading and writing. 
  3. Before reading, teach the words. Engage students in a lively discussion of the words. Teachers may decide to write a brief meaning of the word. 
  4. After reading, students may post words to the word wall. Because word walls are effective when they are interactive, teachers guide discussion of the readings to include new and interesting words that student discovered in their readings. These words, along with their meanings, may bes posted on the word wall. 
  5. Initiate activity around the word wall. For the word wall to be effective, members of the learning community must use them. The teacher plays an important role in initiating activity that leads to interactive word walls. For example, using word walls as references in finding interesting words for writing and playing word games will encourage students to make the word walls their own. 

Students with Special Needs

Students with special needs benefit from practice and repeated exposure to new vocabulary words. Have students create personal word walls that are portable. Students design their own interactive word walls from a blank file folder. Using the four sides of the folder, they draw 26 boxes, one for each letter of the alphabet. They post words from their classroom word wall on their portable word wall as well as new words they learn from their own readings. Students may be encouraged to post additional words from their readings. Words will be available to them on demand, at home and in school. (Patricia Antonacci & Catherine M. O'Collaghan, 2012: 108)


By using this strategy (Interactive Word Wall strategy) the student can choose their own words that they fell unfamiliar. And they may post it on the wall for their needs (writing or reading).
High frequency words in academic text also can be highly exposed to the students by using this strategy, so they can recognize it and always remember the words. Meanwhile,  this strategy is interesting and the words always can be seen and read on the wall.  



  1. Yes ma'am, i often forget to put the cite, I'll make it soon

  2. The source about word wall, hope soon.

  3. Nice!
    Vocabulary is important for comprehension. Readers can’t understand what they read without knowing what most words mean. The most profitable and enduring manner through which to strengthen vocabulary skills is to use word structure to determine meaning. helps to enhance your lexical strength.

  4. Thank for providing good information for site,Thanks for your sharing.