Nonsense Words in Lessons in the We All Can Read Online Program
from Lesson 9 in the We All Can Read Online Program
Nonsense words are essential in teaching phonics to older students.
Nonsense words (words which have no meaning) are used extensively in the first half of our program. Examples are Print Lesson 20 / Print Lesson 21 / Print Lesson 24 / Print Lesson 25 / and Print Lesson 28. Older students may know thousands of words by sight. Often the only way to insist that these students rely upon their knowledge of phonics to sound out words is to present them with words they have never seen before. The same principle is equally true for spelling dictation. Some students have memorized the spelling of hundreds or even thousands of words regardless of whether or not they understand the relationship of letters within a word and the sounds those letters represent. When students are asked to read or spell a nonsense word, they must rely exclusively upon their knowledge of phonics; there is no other way to be able to read or spell a nonsense word.
And please note the following passage from the Teacher’s Guide:
Most pages of Sections One and Two are divided into two parts: real words and nonsense words. Nonsense words are essential to use in teaching phonics to older students and adults. Many students have memorized hundreds or even thousands of words and yet have little or no knowledge of phonics. No purpose is served by having them call out or spell words they have long ago memorized; in fact, older students who are asked to read and spell one-syllable words they already know will often prematurely conclude that this phonics program is too easy for them. For this reason it is strongly recommended that teachers use only the nonsense words from each lesson in Sections One and Two of the book to teach students in sixth grade through high school and also for adults no longer in school.
The two exceptions to this recommendation for students in sixth grade and beyond would be in the instance where students in these grades read and spell less than eighty percent of the real words from any given lesson correctly or in the instance where students are learning English as a second language.
Students in third grade through fifth grade go through all lessons in the online program in exact numerical order. Most students in sixth grade and up do not proceed through all online lessons. Click here to see the complete list of lessons students are asked to complete depending upon their age and reading level.