Non-Sense Word Fluency Freebie

Here’s  quick freebie for all the first grade teachers this time of year.
This freebie will have students practicing reading those silly words for speed.  Use them as bell work or as a center or as an early finisher for your students.  Either way they will get you prepared for your first DIBELS benchmark which is just around the corner.  Kinder teachers, this will come in handy once your kids know their sounds and are blending!

Please note (I would feel bad if I did not state.)  There has been some conversations about how practicing for DIBELS is not appropriate.  Here’s my opinion but you are all entitled to your own.  DIBELS is checking for fluency.   Fluency is the ability to do something without thinking.  We fluently read a book or we fluently drive a car.  We don’t do this without practice!  We were not born knowing how to read a chapter book or ride a bike.  Likewise, when it comes to these silly words, we teach kids that we read to hear words and to stop if it does not make sense.  So why would we then check them on nonsense words? I have been DIBELS trained by our state and understand that they are silly words because we don’t want the kids filling in the blanks and want to know if they are actually blending.  But, how can expect them to go in and read so many in a minute without actually practicing for speed and explaining to them that sometimes they will be silly words on assessments?  IDK… I personally feel it’s ok but know that some districts don’t.  Not sure what DIBELS stance on it is.  Would love to know if anyone knows.  =)  We teach kids to read for number of words in other grades, so in the lower grades we should be able to teach them to read for speed as well right?  Fast means fluent and how can we expect them to be fluent if we don’t practice?  They have no problem with us reading letter or real words for speed right?  Of course not!  I don’t know.  Kay that’s all for now! Enjoy if you wish.

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I explain to my parents and students that being able to fluently read nonsense words helps them more quickly decode multisyllable words. That makes sense to them and to me!

I have noticed that as children become better readers, the NWF score goes down. (I have taught 2nd and now 1st.)The better readers aren’t as fluent with these words, because their brain is telling them what we have been teaching them: “Does it sound right?” No, these words do not sound right, even with the “disclaimer” at the beginning of the test-“these are make believe words”. The hesitate, not because they can’t blend the sounds fluently, but because they are developmentally past this reading stage. So, as long as we continue to use this measure, I will teach them how to read these words and respond when faced with this during the assessment.

I love this! My daughter is in 1st grade and in the accelerated class. We just went to her PTC last night and were told that she got a zero on this Dibels test. her teacher explained that at this age they aren’t supposed to sound the words out but that they should just read them. She said that sometimes the kids don’t realize that. I am frustrated because last year they were instructed to sound out each letter. My daughter reads at a 4th grade level, but now has a zero on her Dibels because of a silly technicality. Why wouldn’t the person giving the test remind the students at the beginning of the test? Now that I know what’s going on, we will be more prepared next time!

I agree with you completely!!! Reading nonsense words is a skill and skills need practice!! I agree with what you said about checking nonsense words, even though we teach our kids to stop if it doesn’t make sense. It’s also frustrating to me when kids who are actually learning to blend and are actually try to read each nonsense word, but it takes them longer and their score is worse! I feel so bad telling them to go faster, because in real life, we want them to really understand how to blend all the sounds to make the word! To me, DIBELS is just a number that I have to show my district and it doesn’t really teach me anything new about my kiddos. I already know from working with them and reading with them on a daily basis!

Katie :)

p.s. I have had these sheets in my fluency binders since last year (found them on Pinterest) and I love them! I’m going to have a parent volunteer for the first time this year and I might get her to practice these with the kids! Thanks!

I totally practice NWF (nonsense word fluency) in my classroom. You have to explain what they are and how to blend them. We practice sight words so why not nonsense ones. Thanks for the freebie!!

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You Might Be a First Grader…

We give the DIBELS as well and there are some of us who do practice nonsense word fluency. We agree with you that this is a specific skill that needs to be practiced if it’s to be mastered. To go along with that, (I teach in TX btw), a state reading benchmark test many districts use is the Texas Primary Reading Inventory (TPRI). One of the things assessed is graphophonemic awareness by giving them letters to fill in word parts once we give them a word. Example- we tell them make the belt. On the board is be_. They have to fill in the rest with provided letters. Well if a student needs work on that, there is a book that goes with the test that we can use to help with those skills. And many of those activities are DIRECT PRACTICE of what we test. Hello! If we’re gonna test it, why not practice it? So thanks so much for the freebie! I’ll definitely be using it!
P.S. I’d love for you to check out my blog!