The Danger of Nonsense Words

Ever heard of a bap?  So… a funny story here.

blue and purple starburst background, superhero exclamation "BAP!"


One day I was creating an answer key for the Letter Sounds Made Simple program.  Within the program, students come across occasional review pages, some of which include real words and nonsense words.  Using their new letter recognition skills, students read the words, then identify which ones are real and which ones are not.  Easy enough, right?


As I was creating the answer key I soon realized that Merriam-Webster and I, well, we don’t always agree about real and not real.


For instance, wot.  What do you think?  Real or nonsense word?


Apparently wot is the past tense of wit.  I did not know this.  Not only that, a student could easily confuse wot for watt.


Around here we like to eliminate confusion, not add more of it.  So, off the list of nonsense words it went.


I also had never heard of a bap, except within the context of superhero sound effects, of course.  I assumed it was a nonsense word.  Wrong again.


You may be laughing at me right now if you already knew that bap, not to be confused with the boy band B.A.P., is a British word that refers to a small bread roll.


If you go a step further and look it up in the urban dictionary (I don’t recommend this, by the way) you’ll see why this word, real or not, has no business living on the pages of a children’s reading intervention program.  Yikes!


I’m happy to report that the Letter Sounds Made Simple reading intervention program is now full of SAFE nonsense words.  Of course, those practice pages are only part of this powerful, multisensory reading program.  If you’d like to learn more about it, please continue to Letter Recognition for Struggling Readers.