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Reading Graffiti Wall: Fostering a Classroom Reading Community

It’s no surprise that Instagram is an amazing place to get a peek into some incredible classrooms. Every year I get new ideas from some of my favorite teachers’ classrooms that I know I have to try out! These past two years, it was a reading graffiti wall. (This idea originally came from Donalyn Miller in her book, Reading in the Wild.)

Fostering a classroom reading community with a student driven Reading Graffiti Wall

What is a Reading Graffiti Wall

A reading graffiti wall is a place on the wall in your classroom where students can write powerful quotes that they find in the books they are reading. A lot of them are chalkboard style – black with white writing, but they don’t have to be! Having a white wall with lots of different colors or with colors that coordinate with your classroom colors would look great too! The most important thing is that it is a place for students to share inspirational quotes from the books they are reading with the classroom reading community!

Fostering a classroom reading community with a student driven Reading Graffiti Wall

Fostering a classroom reading community with a student driven Reading Graffiti Wall

Materials for Creating a Reading Graffiti Wall

Selecting “Reading Graffiti Wall” Quotes from Books

I introduced our reading graffiti wall in conjunction with our first read aloud of the year, Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt. We talked about how our Reading Graffiti Wall was a place for us to write quotes from books that inspire us. These are the powerful quotes, spoken through the characters from books, that motivate us to be better people and help make our society a better place. Then as I am reading aloud, when I come across a good quote I will stop after reading it and we will discuss in.

Why did the character say that? Can we apply that to our lives? Does the quote make sense out of context? (This is huge… sometimes there are good quotes, but they don’t really make a lot of sense if you aren’t reading the book. We want the quotes on our Reading Graffiti Wall to make sense to anyone who looks at them).

Then I will choose a student to write our first quote on our Reading Graffiti Wall! As I continue reading, I remind students to listen carefully for other quotes that meet the criteria for our wall! There will be some lines that they think may be good, but then after discussing the criteria with the class, we may decide that it doesn’t work for our wall. Other times, they find great lines from the book that I didn’t even think of!

Fostering a classroom reading community with a student driven Reading Graffiti Wall

Fostering a classroom reading community with a student driven Reading Graffiti Wall

Fostering a classroom reading community with a student driven Reading Graffiti Wall

Fostering a classroom reading community with a student driven Reading Graffiti Wall

Fostering a Classroom Reading Community

After students have had some practice with picking out great quotes from our read aloud book, I tell them they are ready to be on the lookout for great quotes from the books they are reading independently! When they find a quote they think may be a good fit, they write it down on a post-it note. Then when I am available they will come and discuss it with me, and if we think it is a good quote for our wall I give them a chalk marker to go write it!

When students find a great quote, I always make sure to give them time to share the quote with the class, along with the book it came from and why the quote stood out to them. It is a great way for students to share the books they are reading with their classmates, and students are always excited to read books that have quotes on our Reading Graffiti Wall!

Fostering a classroom reading community with a student driven Reading Graffiti Wall

Have you tried a Reading Graffiti Wall in your classroom? I always love looking at other classrooms’ reading graffiti walls to get ideas for new books with powerful quotes!

Fostering a classroom reading community with a student driven Reading Graffiti Wall

  1. Rheanne says:

    I love this idea! What fonts did you use to create the “Reading Graffiti” title?

  2. Mary W. says:

    This is a wonderful idea. I am going to try to figure out where I could place this board and whether it will work with younger grades (3rd).

    • Molly says:

      I’m considering painting a coffee table with chalkboard paint for the reading graffiti in our classroom library next year! Hopefully you can find a place for it! It worked with my 4th graders in my combo class (4/5) this year, so I definitely think it could work for 3rd! Maybe just do a little more modeling at the beginning! You could also have students pick out quotes from read alouds (both picture and chapter books)!

  3. Meg says:

    Hi! Do the chalk markers wipe off or do you replace the paper once it fills up? I love this idea 🙂

    • Molly says:

      Hi Meg! Since I just use black bulletin board paper, the markers don’t wipe off. I replace it at the end of every year! If you use a chalkboard the ChalkInk markers come off great with Magic Erasers!

  4. Bobbi Jo says:

    This is great! I teach history and will use it with famous quotes!

  5. Corrie says:

    Hi, I am wondering if you have giant corkboards on your walls or if you have just covered large portions of your wall with paper and then stuck things to that?

    • Molly says:

      Hi Corrie! The walls are made of fully tackable (as in floor to ceiling) wall panels!!! They are amazing! I have two full walls in my classroom with them, which gives me so much flexibility for planning out bulletin boards and other things to hang on the walls! It is a huge change from my very first classroom that only had ONE small bulletin board! Ha!

  6. breanna says:

    Since you replace it at the end of the year, doesn’t it get full fast? How to you limit the quotes that are put up there? I love this idea!

    • Molly says:

      Hi Breanna! We try to squeeze in as many quotes as we can and use all the space! Plus, we make sure we are only writing really great quotes up there, so that helps too! You could always staple a new piece of black paper on top of the old one if it gets full!

  7. Jessica says:

    Did you project the font onto your bulletin paper or print out the letters? If you printed out the letters, how did you do it so they were white? I would love to do this with my 6-8 ELA class this year. I think its an amazing way for them to add thier own thoughts to the classroom environment.

    • Molly says:

      I printed the letters using my Silhouette on white cardstock paper! It is SO much easier than cutting them out by hand! A reading graffiti wall would be perfect for you ELA class!!!

    • Jenn says:

      GREAT IDEA projecting it on the board though!!! I don’t have a Silhouette, so I will totally be using your idea!!

  8. Jessica says:

    I love this idea. Did you project your letters onto the bulletin paper and draw them on or did you print them (and if you did how did you get them to print out white)? I love this idea and I want to use this in my first 6-8 ELA class. It’s a brilliant way to allow expression of ideas.

  9. Ginneen says:

    Hi, I have been putting my room together before the kiddies arrive – and I’m so proud of myself. I I I
    I do not have the creative gene at all, so I decided not to cover all walls with “so so” stuff…and pushed myself to be satisfied until a really great idea came along – and VOILA ran into your page tonight!! So excited to implement the Graffiti Wall – it will go great with our Lucy Units. Such an awesome use of space – Thanks for sharing that.

    Now, I have to admit – I’m so glad another teacher asked about the fonts – I would have never known the words Graffiti Wall were typed and printed. How on earth did you do that – I don’t see any separation of paper. What did you print it on and is it on top of the fadeless paper? I’m confused. Can’t wait for your answer!!!! Can’t wait to get started!

    • Jennifer Hambarsumian says:

      It seems she used a machine similar to the circut to cut the letters out and glue them to the top of the page.

  10. Keri says:

    This is awesome. I will definitely use this in my ELA 7 classes this year. Because I have 5 sections of up to 28 students in each, I plan on starting a “fresh” wall each quarter.

  11. Tammy Borrwmans says:

    I love this idea! Gonna have to find a wall space for this!

  12. Mary says:

    I love this idea and as an elementary librarian, I am thinking about using it in my library. Any tips would be appreciated.

  13. Tammy says:

    Great idea!!! I’m going to try this with Science and Social Studies.

  14. I love this idea. Our district is all trained in GLAD strategies and this works in perfectly. I will definitely be making one. What grade do you teach. I treachery some pretty low third graders so I may have to modify it a little till I know they can handle it. Thanks for the great idea…I’m your new follower as well.

  15. Jenn says:

    This is AWESOME! I’m planning on doing it with To Kill a Mockingbird! There are so many powerful quotes in that novel. Question- Has anyone done this on a door? OOOH….wouldn’t it be fun to have a chalkboard or whiteboard door or wall for this?!

  16. Alicia says:

    I had a hard time motivating my 5th graders to write quotes this year, so every week or so, I would challenge them to find a quote to get on the wall!
    For my title, I used word art and printed really big; then laminated— great trick to make bulletin board letters for any font!!

  17. Michelle says:

    So many years after this was posted and still an AMAZING and inspiring idea! Thank you so much for sharing! Going to use it in a common area where our student do lunch- bunches . Maybe it’ll start some conversations between students about the quotes and some of the books they’re reading?! Thank you!!!!!

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