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Being able to decode nonsense words is a vital skill for young readers. It requires them to apply their knowledge of phonics, rather than relying on their knowledge of sight words or by making guesses.


*Edit* By request, this now includes editable pages so you can change the font and add/delete words. Note: Changing fonts may require the font to be resized.


This sorting activity requires students to decode words and then sort them into trash (nonsense) or treasure (real). This resource includes 7 separate lists of words, each getting progressively harder. Each set of words features a sound button under each sound, to encourage students to recognise digraphs and trigraphs. The levels included focus on the following:

•Level 1: CVC words.

•Levels 2-3: CVCC/CCVC words.

•Levels4-5: Double digraphs / trickier sounds.

•Level6: Trigraphs.

•Level 7: Multiple digraphs.


This resource comes with multiple options for sorting, either by using the 6 coloured sorting mats or by printing the provided treasure chest and trash can. You can either print all the word lists to cater for varying abilities, or duplicate selected word lists.

Trash or Treasure Phonics Sorting Activity

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