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Meaningful Word Parts (Morphology) 

Why This is Important

Morphology is working with morphemes, the smallest unit of meaning in words. These include root words, prefixes and suffixes. For example, the word unlucky has three morphemes, un-luck-y. Learning meaningful word parts helps students figure out new words in text, especially in  subject  areas like math, social studies, and science. 

Goals for Strong Readers

  • Identify word parts, which are called morphemes (prefixes, suffixes, root words).  
  • Use word parts (prefixes, suffixes, root words) to figure out meaning of new words. 

Quick Activity

Have your child think of a word (Example: incredible). Have your child to break up the word into its meaningful parts (prefix, root, and suffix) (Example: in-cred-ible). Discuss and look up the meanings of each word part using an online dictionary, and how it connects to the meaning of the entire word. 

More Activities and Games

Download this list of root words and affixes (prefixes and suffixes) for the next three activities.

Choose a root word or affix (Examples: pre, ful, bio, mono). Have your child create as many words as possible using a root word or affix. Have your child read each word created and use it in a sentence. 

Draw a flower with six petals that are big enough to write on. Have your child write a prefix or suffix of his or her choice in the middle of the flower. On each petal, have your child write a word that uses the prefix or suffix. Color the flower and cut it out. Repeat the activity to make a prefix or suffix flower garden. 

Write prefixes and suffixes on the beach ball with a dry erase marker or write and tape the prefixes or suffixes to the beach ball. Play catch with the ball. Wherever your hand lands on the ball, say a word with that prefix or suffix or explain its meaning. 

How are Words Related 4th
Helps with speaking and listening

Pick a group of words that have the same prefix, suffix, or root. Have your child explain to you how the words are related to one another based on the word part.

Examples of word groups:

  • transport, portable, transportation, import, report
  • singer, waiter, driver, dancer, player, teacher
  • auditor, auditory, audition, audio, audience