Building a Word Wall


  • To recognize that print has meaning
  • To recognize that spoken words can be written
  • To recognize some letters

Photos or realistic illustrations of wild animals and pet animals, self-adhesive notes, marker

Literature Suggestion
Read nonfiction books about wild animals and pet animals.


Pretend to be an animal, like a cat or a rabbit, and ask children to guess what you are. Ask children to name animals they know--both wild animals and pets. Talk about the different animals they name--what they look like, how they move, where they live, and what they eat. Allow children to look through animal books you provide.


  • Hold up a picture of an animal. Ask children to call out the animal's name. Remind them that a name is a word.
  • Explain that you are going to write the animal's name. Write the name on the sticky note while children watch. Spell out the letters as you write, then restate the word: l-i-o-n; this word is lion.
  • Stick the note on the animal picture. Ask children to say the word on the note. Then ask volunteers to tell you the first letter of the word and the sound it makes. Repeat the answer. ("Yes, lion. Lion begins with the letter l: /l/, lion.") Repeat with other animal pictures.
  • Post the pictures, filling up a wall with pictures and words.
To reinforce alphabet letters and beginning sounds, read animal ABC books. As you read, ask children to identify each animal and the initial letter of the animal's name. Some children may also be able to repeat the sound of the initial letter.

Observation Assessment

  • Proficient - Child understands that letters form words, and can repeat the sounds letters make.
  • In Process - Child needs help to understand the concepts of words and letter sounds, and has some difficulty repeating letter sounds.
  • Not Yet Ready - Child does not seem to understand the concept of words and letters, and does not repeat sounds.

Excerpted from School Readiness Activity Cards. The Preschool Activity Cards provide engaging and purposeful experiences that develop language, literacy, and math skills for preschool children.

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