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Sound Walls: Does the configuration of my sound wall matter?

Yes! Students will need access to both a consonant chart and a vowel valley to learn about all 44 English speech sounds. The field of linguistics contributes to the body of knowledge we refer to as the science of reading. If you want your sound wall to be consistent with principles from the science of reading, the sound wall must feature a linguistic configuration.

Linguistic Configuration: The Consonant Chart

For the consonant chart, the headings along the top of the chart describe the place of articulation or where in the mouth the sound is being produced.

Along the side is the manner of articulation, including what happens with air flow and vocal cords. Because students make mistakes with phonemes that are in the same box, row, and column, there is a significant benefit to organizing by both manner and place of articulation.

Linguistic Configuration: The Vowel Valley

The vowel valley is organized to mimic mouth movements. The top left begins with the jaw high and the lips smiling. Moving down the vowel valley the jaw drops low and open before raising again as the lips round forward.


In sum, it is imperative that you properly organize your sound walls by manner and place of articulation. When you post the phonemes out of order, the sound wall loses its linguistic value, limiting your ability to teach students about the features of articulation.

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