University of Pittsburgh School of Education

Color Coding the Word Wall

Color Coding the Word Wall

LEADERS Handbook of Early Literacy Strategies and Activities

Time: Varies
Group Style: Whole group
Grade Level: K-6


In order to promote fluency by recognizing high frequency words, student can identify decodable vs. sight words from the word wall.


  • Index cards or oak tag (in 2 colors)
  • Markers
  • Word Wall


  1. Color-code the words on the word wall. Sight words are one color and decodable words are another.
  2. Explain the rationale to the students. Some words cannot be sounded out.

Teacher Comments

  • This gives the student another strategy to use while they are reading or writing.
  • Ideally the same 2 colors would be used on word walls throughout the school.
For More Information about Working with Word Walls see the Four Blocks website.

"Must Have" Word Wall Sources

Throop, Sara
Success With Sight Words: Multisensory Ways to Teach High-Frequency Words
PhD Creative Teaching Press, 1999. 
Cunningham, Patricia M. and Hall, Dorothy P.
Month by Month Phonics (Available by grade level: Kindergarten, 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, Upper Grades)
Carson-Dellosa Publishing Company, Inc., 1997.
Cunningham, Patricia M., Hall, Dorothy P., and Sigmon, Cheryl M.
The Teacher's Guide to the Four Blocks: A Multilevel Framework for Grades 1-2
Carson-Dellosa Publishing Company, Inc., 1999.
Hill, Sandi
Developing Literacy Using Reading Manipulatives
Creative Teaching Press, 1997.
Lynch, Judy
Making Word Walls Work
A Complete Systematic Guide with Routines, Grade-Perfect Word Lists, and Reproducible Word Cards to Help All Children Master High-Frequency Words
Teaching Resources, 2005.
Callella, Trish
Making Your Word Wall More Interactive
Creative Teaching Press, 2001.

For further information about working with Word Walls: See the Four Blocks website and look under "Working with Words."