Academic vocabulary in elementary grades is a significant predictor of comprehension ten years later. Research tells us that we need 10 to 15 exposures to a new word before it become established. Being established means that the student is able to explain the meaning of the word and use the word in conversation or writing. A word wall is a subtle means of reminding students about important or interesting vocabulary and also reminds the teacher to refer to the words often.
Word walls will look different in different grade levels. I was in a fifth grade classroom today and noticed a word wall based on the current novel study. Students were encouraged to discover new words as they read and use them in different contexts.
Take a look at this Power Point designed by Shelley Lunde for more great word wall ideas!