Children love silly sentences: The slimy slug slipped on the slippery sled.
From the adult perspective, working on alliterative words is building phonemic skills but for kids, it’s mere silliness and joy.
Nonsense words can also be like that; they’re silly, a giggle maker. So how do det , nad, hab, bif and lud fit into a phonics program? Well, they are precursors to reading by chunks or by syllables. If our learners have foundational skills in place, like knowing the sounds of letters and how to blend and segment, nonsense words are good practice.
Nonsense words remove guessing. They are the best example of using the alphabetic principal to practice decoding (reading). The skill also translates to spelling.
If a student is struggling to read real words, nonsense words with continual feedback is a great tool. Extra practice with nonsense words is fun.
I like to introduce children to the CITIZENS of GALAXY III. That’s nonsense in itself, right? They have a unique vocabulary and WE can learn to read their words! So when we do a CVC word sort with words like: det, nad, hab, bif, lud, mixed in with real words, we are certain that a correct response means the child hasn’t memorized the word but has true understanding of the alphabetic principal and pattern.
Later we can understands that hab may be a nonsense word, but it is the first syllable in the word “habitat.” Nonsense words give readers confidence as they move on to multisyllabic words.
Parents who want to have fun with their children rather than feeling pedantic can interact in a positive and goofy manner (albeit educational) with their children.
Having a student read “Det nad hab bif lud,” in a voice consistent with Citizens of Galaxy III can be fun for all. Asking a child to illustrate it might be over the top, but it can be humorous to witness the meaning they creatively assign this sentence when they’re having fun.
Healthy debate abounds on the topic of nonsense words (pseudo words) and their use. I feel strongly that done correctly, there is no confusion on the learner’s part……just silliness….and a good dose of reinforced phonics instruction.