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Lesson Plan

Rooting Out Meaning: Morpheme Match-Ups in the Primary Grades

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Grades 3 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Three 30-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Helen Hoffner, Ed.D.

Helen Hoffner, Ed.D.

Ridley Park, Pennsylvania


International Literacy Association



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From Theory to Practice



Students can expand their vocabulary and determine the meaning of unfamiliar words by developing an understanding of morphemes. If they learn, for example, that micro means small and scope means see, they can deduce that a microscope is a device that enables an individual to see small objects. This lesson encourages students to use morphemes to deconstruct and construct words. The students use the Morpheme Match-Ups handout and the Word Central website to engage in morphemic analysis of familiar and unfamiliar words. This lesson allows teachers to easily substitute their own morphemes for each activity.

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Morpheme Match-Ups Handout: Students use these cards to create as many words as possible and use the definitions for each morpheme to determine the meaning of unfamiliar words.

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Mountain, L. (2005). ROOTing out meaning: More morphemic analysis for primary pupils. The Reading Teacher, 58(8), 742749.

  • Research suggests that instruction in morphemic analysis can help students determine the meaning of unfamiliar words.

  • When introducing words that have meaningful parts, it is helpful to deconstruct and reconstruct the words with students to further their understanding (e.g., telescope is composed of two morphemes-tele meaning distance and scope meaning see).

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