A while back, I began a series on developing vocabulary, and I thought I’d jump back into it with a focus on 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.
VOCABULARY WORD GAMES
Kids love games, and when they come in in the morning, aren’t they normally dragging? (or maybe it’s just in my school??) Anyway, if they have a fun routine set up, they will be more motivated to get in, unpack, and get with their team for game time. Rewarding with team points or prizes may be a great incentive too. Many traditional board games can be modified to practice your skills or even used as is. Boggle and Bananagrams are two that pop in my mind. I also recently came across Pears which is a game of homonyms. With prefixes and suffixes, you could modify the discs for Connect Four and have students try to blend prefixes, roots, and roots to form words. Another idea I thought of is Prefix/Suffix Dominoes. Here are a few freebies I found on TPT to get you started.
TAKING ADVANTAGE OF TRANSITIONS
Build Vocabulary with Mystery Words:
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:
Be Intentionally Careless:
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 Ideas:
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.
Vocabulary Quick Writes:
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.