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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Nonsense Words - Going Beyond with REAL Words

I've never been fond of DIBELS, mostly because it gets misused as a 'mastery' indicator and a lot of pressure is put on teachers to bring ALL students to the Benchmark within the school year --basically 8 months.  Always seems to me to defeat the purpose of what 'Indicator' means.  

In the developmental years (K-3), there are many gaps in individual development, and yet it seems we require / push all children to reach the same rung of the the same time. If that is not accomplished, then the pressure is on to 'bring them up'.   

Julie --from MakeTakeTeach wrote a very nice blog post about Nonsense Words Assessments, explaining the intended purpose in determining reading ability, and the value of it according to research.  The word Indicator is strongly reflected in her article and I appreciate that!

While I've grown to see value, when the assessments are used properly, and  not overdone, it's still hard for me to put every child under the 1 minute timer and say succeed --now!  

So where do I stand on Nonsense Words? 

I expose my students to Nonsense Words, but in a different kind of way. It bothered me (from the very beginning)  to have my students read cvc words that didn't make sense - with no value or purpose beyond letter sounds and blending.  

So, instead of reading them in isolation, I developed cards that begin with a Nonsense Word (vc or cvc) and then build to a bigger REAL word:  i.e.   jun ...jungle,   peb...pebble,  cal...California .  My first graders have loved these, and I'm amazed how quickly they start mastering bigger words -- AND it improves their NWF, too (without just focusing on reading Nonsense Words).  It's fun, too, because they become self motivated to master these BIG words.  I'm always amazed how quick that happens.

These cards have been one of my top sellers at TPT, and the feedback from other teachers has been wonderful . The element of  'greater purpose' is evident and experience of  children beaming as they find confidence in reading REAL BIG WORDS ---is priceless. I know I love it when it happens in my classroom.

I have spent the last 3 days revising the cards with updated fonts, cuter covers, and tweaking a few of the words in the lists. They are better than ever, and I can't wait to make a new fresh set for the fall.

 Nonsense Words for REAL   Bundle   344 Cards!

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