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Tracking/chaining - real vs. nonsense words?

Posted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 9:47 am
by Kyther
Hi, it's me again. I'm still working on the project--I'm hoping to get enough put together that I can really begin working with some struggling readers in the area (mostly I'm held up by the lack of public domain line drawings for simple words in the early stages, such as "mat" and "bag"). One thing I haven't really sorted out is whether tracking (aka chaining) should be done with real or nonsense words--or if that depends on the child.

The situations I've heard it mentioned one way or the other are mostly when a child is receiving remedial tutoring. In those situations the child has learned bad strategies for reading, usually involving some form of guessing, and need to be trained to decode only, hence the tracking involves nonsense words or nonword ONLY, in order to force them to listen to the sounds and not just guess at how they think the word is spelled. This I can see is a clear precedent (with logical reasoning) for sticking to nonword tracking sequences in remedial instruction.

If the teaching is not remedial, but the child's first instruction in reading, should the tracking be real words only, or a mixture of both, or nonwords only? Should the type of sequences (real/mixed/nonword) depend on the child's ability/level? Is there some other aspect to this decision that I haven't thought about?

Any thoughts or ideas on this will be welcomed! :)