Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2019


The purpose of this action research project was to determine if East Union should use nonsense words or decodable words when testing students’ fluency and decoding skills. The parents of seventeen out of twenty students in a kindergarten classroom permitted the researcher to assess their child weekly. The students were tested over ten weeks and at the end of the school year. The data was collected with quantitative testing using the Formative Assessment System for Teachers (FAST) progress monitoring materials. The researcher collected qualitative data through anecdotal notes. Students were tested one week using nonsense words and the next week using decodable words. The researcher continued rotating between the two assessments. The 2018 - 2019 FAST scores of these seventeen students were also reviewed. The outcomes of the action research project will be used to recommend continuing use of nonsense words during FAST assessments or to switch to decodable words. It is presumed that the reader of this paper is either a knowledgeable early elementary educator, or a person that is knowledgeable about current early elementary reading theories and materials.