Students struggling to grasp using clues to figure out the meanings of unknown words? Try using nonsense words!
What are nonsense words? They are made up words! I like to use made up words and replace them with Tier 1 vocabulary (common vocabulary our students are familiar with like pencil, dog, chair) to show them how to use clues to figure out word meanings.
It is a great way to start and having your students express “how do you know” to showcase how they generated their responses. Model for your students. Show them how you think about it and think out loud for them to hear. For example, “oh BLAH means pencil because I see the words write, sharpen, student, and yellow.”
Do you have to make up your own words?! No! I like to use the word BLAH. It is my go to. My students actually start recognizing it and know what is expected of them! But you can also just white out/cover up words too! You can do this in articles or even song lyrics! Can they figure out what is covered up?!
How else can you use this strategy? You can just take pieces or paper or index cards and make your own sentences with nonsense words. Doesn’t have to be fancy!
Don’t want to make up your own sentences? I do have a resource in my store that has a level with nonsense words. I did the work so you don’t have to! CLICK HERE to check it out!
Want a fun book to use this strategy? Baloney is a fun book with an alien language. Students can use the clues to figure out what he is describing! You can grab this book on Amazon! It is super fun!
I know your students will benefit from practicing this strategy. It will help them use what the sentence is about and the clues within it to figure out meanings of the unknown words. It will make them more aware of context clues. Want even more ways to practice using this strategy?! I have a FREEBIE for you! Click the button below to grab this free context clues game that has a level with nonsense words!