Do you have an emerging reader in your house? If so, then a rainbow word wall is the activity for you. Not only is it fun to create but it is educational.
All you need are colored sticky notes, a marker or pen, and a child who is willing to learn and spell words.
Here is what you do:
Create a list of sight words for your preschooler OR pull easy-to-read words from a story you two are reading.
Practice having your child spell the words out loud for a couple days.
When your child is ready to create a sticky word wall note, ask him or her to say the word and then spell it out loud as you write the word on the sticky note.
If your child gets it right, stick the note to the wall; if he or she misses, give a second or third chance before moving on to a different word.
Since each word gets a sticky note, the more words he or she knows, the more notes on the wall! It is an inexpensive and fun activity that is educational and easy to track. The various colors and number of sticky notes really allows the child to keep track of his or her progress in a tangible way.
Now, there aren’t any hard-fast rules for the rainbow word wall, but I would encourage you to come up with some soft guidelines for how a sticky note makes it to the wall.
For example, I will ask my son if he has learned any new words that day, and if he has, would he like to add them to the wall. If he says yes, I ask him what the word is and then ask him to spell it. If he misspells the word I tell him he got it wrong and offer him a second chance. If he misses it a second time, I let him know that he missed it again and then we spell it together. I only give him two chances. Instead of letting him go on and on, I encourage him think about that word, its spelling, and trying to spell it again the next day.
Why do I only give him two chances? I am a teacher by trade, so I am always trying to get the most out of any activity. And this rainbow word wall is no different.
Most importantly I am demonstrating that it is okay to make a mistake because an opportunity to try again will more than likely present itself at some point. By offering him two chances I am letting him know that he should be focused on trying to learn the word and its spelling rather than randomly yelling out letters. I am also teaching him that you do not get forever to accomplish a task; in fact, by offering a limited number of times to try, I am sharing with him that you may only get a couple shots to do something before the chance is lost.
So grab some post-it notes and make a rainbow word wall! It is one of those ultimate all-in-one activities that can help your child academically as well as socially.
Felicia Williams is currently a stay-at-home mom and blogger who has taught a variety of subjects, including English, reading, and writing, for middle-school through college-level students.