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YR 1 - Nonsense words

(32 Posts)
Okkitokkiunga Thu 14-Apr-16 09:43:27

DS morning task was to identify the nonsense words from a list of words. One of the words I recognised as being a real word, though not in every day use so I queried it with the teacher who informed me it was a nonsense word for the children's purposes as they wouldn't recognise it.

Is this usual practise? I don't want my child being taught that real words are nonsense just because they are too young to use it in their vocabulary. At this point I am thinking the teacher didn't actually know it was a real word - fine she doesn't need to know every word in the English language, however maybe they should check a nonsense word, is in fact, a nonsense word!!

Rant over smile

Feenie Thu 14-Apr-16 10:01:35

They don't need to be able to identify nonsense words, no. In the screening check, they are made obvious since the administrator will tell them - and there will be a chuffing great monster next to it.

Okkitokkiunga Thu 14-Apr-16 10:09:16

when they've had word cards, the nonsense words have had monsters next to them. This morning it was a list of about 20 words in a table form, they had to create a coloured key code depicting real words and nonsense words and then decide for themselves which were the real and nonsense words by colouring them in. Not a monster in sight.

onemouseplace Thu 14-Apr-16 10:10:45

I've been wondering this as well as at least two of the 'alien' words DD has had in her homework have been real words ('lope' and 'lute' - neither of which are that obscure).

I asked DD what she understood alien words to be and she said they were not real words. I don't think it will be really be an issue though for her as I doubt she will remember any of the alien words they have looked at for the phonics check - it just annoyed me and (IMO) just makes the school/ teacher look as if they don't have a very extensive vocabulary!

Okkitokkiunga Thu 14-Apr-16 10:36:22

onemouse exactly. Especially as our school are really big on using WOW words and unusual ones. Children who have used unusual words in their work get to have it read out in celebration assembly, so if a word is a word, it should be a real word regardless of how obscure it is and not nonsense just because they are young! You may have gathered it has annoyed me too.

leccybill Thu 14-Apr-16 10:43:21

In the actual phonics check, the nonsense words are all indicated by a monster/alien. So your DD doesn't have to worry if they are real or not.

kesstrel Thu 14-Apr-16 11:13:52

I agree with you, OP. None of the nonsense words in the check will be real words. I would be cross too. There are too many schools focusing on "teaching" nonsense words, and not focusing enough on teaching phonics properly.

fredfredgeorgejnrsnr Thu 14-Apr-16 11:32:44

So what are the word, both the one you felt was real, but also all the words you felt that weren't?

There's very few words in English that are short and phonetically plausible which are not also real words - as in you can find them in the OED or are proper nouns (maybe with a non-English history). Most often of course these words will be very rare, but that doesn't mean anything if a child does actually know it?

Rosebud05 Thu 14-Apr-16 15:19:04

For the purposes of the phonics screening, it doesn't matter whether it's a 'real' word or a 'nonsense' word - the screening is to ensure that children are able to use their phonic knowledge to decode words.

For the purposes of your son's education, could you just not say 'That's a word that means .....'

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Thu 14-Apr-16 16:50:38

You'd have to add something about how even teachers can make mistakes sometimes though. It may be better to just ignore in this case.

It's quite unlikely that if he comes across this word in the future that he will remember it was once incorrectly as a non word.

mrz Thu 14-Apr-16 17:19:55

I'm not clear how if the task was to sort the words into real and pseudowords why you didn't just tell him to put it into the real word set and explain what it meant. Sorry if I've missed something.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Thu 14-Apr-16 17:32:29

I'm reading it as a task that has been carried out at school and marked by the teacher, Mrz. Presumably it has incorrectly been marked correct when the Op's DS listed it as a non word.

mrz Thu 14-Apr-16 17:59:41

I read it was a task carried out in school with the parent as children arrive (morning work)
I don't understand why the teacher didn't just accept the word as real (and I'm curious what the word is )

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Thu 14-Apr-16 18:29:27

I'd love to know too.

The teacher seems to have come up with a new twist on the all words are non-words if you don't know them yet. I'm not sure sure she's quite got to grips with that argument in the way it is usually meant.

mrz Thu 14-Apr-16 19:04:24

Letters and Sounds has so much to answer for with "Treasure or Trash" games

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Thu 14-Apr-16 19:45:19

Obb and Bob is one of my personal bugbears, I have to say.

Not sure L&S started this. I think Progression in Phonics had something similar. It involved large foam dice, 2 had a consonant on each side, the other had a, e, i, o, u. Children had to throw them, and blend the sounds and say whether it was a real word or not.

Feenie Thu 14-Apr-16 20:33:25

God knows why.

cariadlet Thu 14-Apr-16 21:18:04

I quite like the Phonics Play nonsense/real words games - it's a good way of extending children's vocabulary. There are often real words that they think are nonsense words because they haven't met them before.

mrz Thu 14-Apr-16 21:20:20

Reading high quality books is a much better way.

cariadlet Thu 14-Apr-16 21:22:35

But it's not an either one or the other. I do both. The children enjoy the games and playing them for 5 minutes at a time, once or twice a week doesn't hurt.

mrz Thu 14-Apr-16 21:48:14

I'd question whether the time could be spent in doing something just as enjoyable but more effective .

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Thu 14-Apr-16 21:53:05

But the scoring system is completely different to the skills that the game is primarily supposed to be assessing or developing.

It might assess vocabulary, but is not assessing is phonics. I'm not sure it's really helping to clear up some of the misunderstandings that have arisen around non-words either. You can see how teachers and parents might end up confused about the purpose of non-words.

LilyBolero Thu 14-Apr-16 21:56:10

'For the purposes of the phonics screening, it doesn't matter whether it's a 'real' word or a 'nonsense' word - the screening is to ensure that children are able to use their phonic knowledge to decode words.'

That's not actually true - if it's a nonsense word, they are allowed to use any plausible pronunciation, if it's a real word, they have to find the 'correct' pronunciation, a different plausible one will be marked wrong.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Thu 14-Apr-16 21:57:45

Which is why the real words should never have been included.

mrz Thu 14-Apr-16 22:25:01

They can hardly insist on a specific pronunciation for a pseudo word

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