What is a nonsense word and how could that help my child in any way?
A nonsense word is a made up word. Have you ever read Dr. Seuss and wondered where he got some of his characters? Yes, he made them up! A nonsense word can be made by taking a well known word and changing one or two letters, or many of the letters. Nonsense words can be made by rhyming.
Reading and hearing nonsense words helps to reinforce phonetic learning and phonemic awareness.
According the Harvard.edu “Phonetics is the study of speech sounds”.
According to University of Oregon Phonemic awareness is “the ability to hear and manipulate the sounds in spoken words and the understanding that spoken words and syllables are made up of sequences of speech sounds”.
Why does this matter? Think about the last time you read a book. If it was an easier read, it was as such probably because many of the words followed familiar phonemic combinations. Have you ever tried to read a technical or reference book? Some of those words are not familiar and you may have had to look closely to know what it said. That is using phonics and your phonemic awareness to read.
What are some ideas?
- What words rhyme with….
Box? fox, lox, sox. jox, mox, nox…. Are they all real words? No, but they follow the rule of rhyming.
- Change all the a’s to i’s….
cat is cit, bat is bit, rag is rig…Not all real words but they follow rules of vowel sounds.
- Add a “y” to the end of every word…
table — tably, car —- cary, sit — sitty. Do it the other way?
baby —- babe, lazy —- laze.
What is a real word and what isn’t?
Many of these activities are more common with the smaller kids. It can be super fun with any age! Have you read any of the “Amelia Bedelia” books? Amelia Bedelia makes up words all the time, making each of her adventures a hysterical escapade. What about the old “Pig Latin”. According to Webster: Pig Latin is “a made-up language formed from English by transferring the initial consonant or consonant cluster of each word to the end of the word and adding a vocalic syllable (usually ˈpiɡ ˌlatn: so chicken soup would be translated to ickenchay oupsay . Pig Latin is typically spoken playfully, as if to convey secrecy.”
Have fun with words. It makes everyone laugh and surprising makes everyone a better reader.