Skip to contentContribute to ReadWriteThink / RSS / FAQs / Site Demonstrations / Contact Us / About Us



Download Acrobat Reader

To view our printable materials, you must download the latest version of the free Adobe Acrobat software.

Download now


Lessons Plans

Our lesson plans are written and reviewed by educators using current research and the best instructional practices and are aligned to state and national standards. Choose from hundreds of topics and strategies.



Parent & Afterschool Resources

ReadWriteThink has a variety of resources for out-of-school use. Visit our Parent & Afterschool Resources section to learn more.



HomeClassroom ResourcesPrintouts


Common Content Area Roots and Affixes

E-mail / Share / Print This Page / Print All Materials (Note: Handouts must be printed separately)


Common Content Area Roots and Affixes

Grades 5 – 12
Printout Type Informational Sheet
Common Content Area Roots and Affixes



This printout offers 50 or so common roots, prefixes, and affixes that give students access to hundreds of key concepts across the content areas.

This printout has been reproduced from the following book: Ellery, V., & Rosenboom, J.L. (2011). Sustaining strategic readers: Techniques for supporting content literacy in grades 6-12. Newark, DE: International Reading Asssociation.

Teaching With This Printout

More Ideas to Try

Related Resources




If your students are unfamiliar with the process of analyzing a word for its roots and affixes, you may need to begin by defining prefix, root, and suffix (using examples from the science, social studies, and mathematics section of the Common Content Area Roots and Affixes).  Point out to students that once they are familiar with a root or affix, they can use that knowledge in multiple situations, increasing their vocabulary exponentially.

Use the chart as an inquiry tool by covering the “Meaning” column and asking students to determine the meaning of the common root, prefix, or affix based on the content of the other columns.  Students may be surprised at how much they already know and encouraged by the number of words their background knowledge gives them access to.


back to top

  • When students have a handle on the function and structure of these word parts, model the process of dissecting words into prefixes, roots, and affixes and using knowledge of word parts to make meaning of unfamiliar words based on prior knowledge.
  • Have students explore the systematic effect certain suffixes have on roots.  The suffix “-ism” for example, can turn an adjective into a noun, while “-ful” transforms nouns into adjective.  Have students generate a list of such modifying suffixes and look for examples of them in their reading.
  • Ask students create a blank version of the Common Content Area Roots and Affixes chart to keep in a notebook they take with them throughout the day.  Challenge them to look for roots and affixes across content areas.  Keep a chart in the classroom that students are invited to add to throughout the school year, demonstrating their expanding word knowledge and know-how.


back to top


Grades   4 – 12  |  Strategy Guide

Using Disciplinary Facets to Deepen Academic Vocabulary Knowledge

In this guide, you will learn how to use the disciplinary facets strategy to support vocabulary development across contexts and academic disciplines.


ROOTing Out Meaning: More Morphemic Analysis for Primary Pupils

Grades   K – 5  |  Professional Library  |  Journal

ROOTing Out Meaning: More Morphemic Analysis for Primary Pupils

Help students learn to construct meaning from word parts.


Flip-A-Chip to Build Vocabulary

Grades   6 – 12  |  Professional Library  |  Journal

Flip-A-Chip to Build Vocabulary

This word-game strategy builds vocabulary and comprehension while motivating students.