My Go To Word Work Game For Nonsense Word Fluency

I used to HATE the nonsense word fluency portion of the DIBELS assessment.  Like HATE it.  I thought it was pointless.  Afterall, I didn't care if my kids could read nonsense words.  

I wanted them reading REAL words!

But then, my science of reading journey hit me across the forehead again with another big learning AHA!  

Nonsense words are the building blocks of multisyllabic words.  

Let me say it a different way: Words with more than one syllable often are built by putting two or more nonsense one-syllable words together.

Like COMPUTER.  This word is built with 3 nonsense words.

COM-PU-TER.  So, if we want kids reading longer words, they need lots of practice reading short, nonsense words.

My absolute favorite way to practice decoding both real and nonsense words is playing the Word Chunks Game.

What You'll Need

This word work game is super low prep.  All I need is onset and rime cards and a way to record the words.  This can be as simple as writing sound chunks you are teaching on sticky notes and using dry erase boards to record words.

Or, you can use these premade word building cards that include all of the phonics sounds from short vowels and blends to vowel teams and diphthongs. All I have to do is laminate the onset and rime cards and store them in a bag.  I love using the different themed word building cards each month to make the game fresh and new for the kids!

Once you have the game prepped, you are ready to play this game with kids no matter what their decoding level!  Each of the word chunks game sets are differentiated into short vowel words, CVCe and ending blend words, and vowel combo words.  All sets include consonants and blends and digraphs as the onsets. 

Just grab the bag with the skill cards your kids need to work on and you are ready to play!

How To Play The Word Chunks Game

Lay out the headers "real" and "wacky" words and talk to kids about what this means.  After decoding each word, they will need to determine if the word is a real word or not.

Then, make a pile of the onset words and the rime word cards.  Kids will take turns turning over one of each to build the word.

(NOTE: I put an orange dot on the back of my rime cards so I could easily sort the cards into onsets and rimes)

Once the kid builds the new word, they will decide if the word is real or wacky and move the word card under the correct header.

Then, they will write their word on the recording sheet under the correct header.

You play as long or as short as time allows.  When time is up, the person with the most REAL words wins!

More Word Work Practice

If your kids need more word building practice, there are 3 premade sorts included in each month of the Word Chunks Game.  And they are themed for the month and match the levels included for each game set!

Use the sorts for independent practice, sub plans, morning work, and more!  You can find the October Word Chunks Game here or get the bundle for a huge discount here.

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