A while back, I began a series on developing vocabulary, and I thought I’d jump back into it with post number three. I am sorry I’ve kept you all waiting with it (and I just know you’ve been chomping at the bit to get this lovely post…waiting, twiddling your thumbs and tapping your feet, right??) Oh yeah…that little huge monster called TESTING got in the way! Why oh why can’t it just go away??? (and that, my friends, will be for another post that will come soon!)
In the previous posts, I focused on Context Clues and Synonyms and Antonyms. You can check out those posts by clicking on them above. In them, I shared a few freebies including the Degrees of Meaning Sort and the Parking Lot Game for Overused Words. These activities work very well for modeling as well as post lesson practice for centers.
Today, I’d like to share a few ideas for prefixes, suffixes, and roots. Learning prefixes and suffixes begins typically in second grade, but for many, mastery occurs closer to fourth grade. I think the reason is that struggling readers just need more repetition to fully grasp how these word part contribute to a word’s overall meaning. Below, I will share a few thoughts on how you might work in additional practice without losing time for other tasks.
WARM UP WITH WORD GAMES
Kids love challenges, and one way to review or practice prefixes and suffixes is with Mystery Words. The teacher can gives clues for the mystery word such as:
Odd One Out:
One last idea with transitions is Odd One Out. This works well with categorizing, but how about prefixes…
under, undone, unpack, untie…which does not belong?
pretest,pretend, preschool, preset…which does not belong?
Word building is lots of fun, and it’s a great way to create opportunities for repeated exposure to words. After all, students need many exposures to new vocabulary (12-15 exposures) for words to become part of your working vocabulary. When students come together to build words, the discussion takes everyone to a higher level. One simple activity is to print prefix, root, and suffix cards and have students combine them in different ways to see how many words they can create.
Another fun option is to do a quick write. Quick writes are great for so many lessons such as for brainstorming lists of ideas and as a way to brainstorm story starters, so why not apply that idea to word building too. Have students quick write all the words they can think of with XXX feature. As I mentioned earlier, kids love competition and quick writes work well for building on that enthusiasm.
Greek and Latin Roots:
Finally, it’s important to prioritize the parts teachers teach. Be sure to choose high utility word parts and roots. This list of recommended Greek and Latin roots, prefixes, and suffixes by grade level might be helpful.