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Monday, December 19, 2016

Nonsense Words vs Real Words

Happy Holidays!
As the winter break quickly approaches, I wanted to take a minute and explain the purpose for this skill within our curriculum and your kinder's learning progression to becoming a fluent reader and writer.  

Nonsense words are exactly what they sound like...words that are made up and have no meaning.  Real words are exactly what they sound like...REAL words!  We are practicing both kinds of words to work on the skill of blending sounds into words.  You might be asking, "why would you practice on words that don't make sense?" and that is a great question.  When we practice on nonsense words, we are controlling a sight word vocabulary students build up and focus solely on the identification and blending of sounds into words.  If you would like more information on why we use nonsense words, here is a link for a great article that might address more of your questions!

There are three different phases your kinder will go through when reading these words.  We talked about this progression at conference time revolving around the standard 
RF.K.3 : Apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills
The three different phases your kinder will work through while blending sounds to make words are:
1.) sound out letters letter-by-letter and then attempt to blend the sounds to make a word
2.) start breaking words into the beginning sound and the ending chunk (onset and rime) and then blend it into a word-this is more of an efficient way to blend words
3.) blend the word in your head and read it as a whole word-fluent readers (like you and I) read new and familiar words this way

We are going to administer our winter FAST (the state assessment we are required to give all students) within the first two weeks of January.  There will be an additional test we administer this time around that includes a 1-minute timing of nonsense words.  We have been working on this skill during our Guided Reading lessons and our workstations, but I wanted to give you all at home the background information and an additional resource to support this skill at home.  Coming home tonight in your kinder's folder there will be a sheet of CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words that are easily broken into onset and rime.  Please use these alongside of your Jolly Phonics flashcards and your sight words.  You can have your kinder read all of the words to you, you can time them (1-minute) to see how many they can read, or you can partner read them...just keep the focus on blending the sounds into words!  No need to chart this work or return the sheet...it is a resource for you to use for your house!

Lastly, it is important to keep the academic skills a focus during the holiday break.  Your kinder has worked so hard these past few months to make huge gains in their learning.  Please enjoy your time with family over break, but enjoy some "lap time" listening to your kinder read to you, have them write stories and share them with family members, and continue to probe math questions with number sense (numbers 0-100)/writing numbers 0-20/beginning addition and subtraction concepts.  I attached an additional reading challenge to the nonsense words sheet to help spice up reading practice with your kinder.  Please feel free to use some of the ideas listed on this challenge! We will hit the ground running right when we get back in January!  Please let me know if there is any way I can support you and your kinder!--Mrs. Fisher

Resources to look for in your kinder's folder!
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