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ROOTing Out Meaning: More Morphemic Analysis for Primary Pupils

by Lee Mountain

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ROOTing Out Meaning: More Morphemic Analysis for Primary Pupils

Grades K – 5
Type Journal
Published May 2005
Publisher International Literacy Association



In an elementary-school professional development program, a group of primary teachers and a university consultant reviewed the research on morphemic analysis and then explored ways to give pupils in grades 1, 2, and 3 an early start on using prefixes, suffixes, and roots to construct word meaning. The teachers examined some middle-grade strategies for teaching morphemic analysis and modified these methods to make them suitable for use with younger children. The strategies included direct teaching of the meanings of affixes, finding and deriving meaning from roots in popular reading materials, disassembling and reassembling words with meaningful parts, using affix posters both informatively and interactively, employing Venn diagrams to compare and contrast the meanings of prefixes, and using contests and games to promote word study. Then teachers formulated three guidelines for instruction in morphemic analysis at the primary level: (1) When you teach a word, also gradually teach its derivative forms; (2) when you teach an affix, introduce it on words that carry its most common meaning, and then present other meanings; and (3) when you teach a word that has meaningful parts, deconstruct and reconstruct the words with your students, pointing out the meaning of each part.

Mountain, L. (2005, May). ROOTing Out Meaning: More Morphemic Analysis for Primary Pupils. The Reading Teacher, 58(8), 742749. doi: 10.1598/RT.58.8.4


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Grades   3 – 5  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

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

In this lesson, students use morphemes—English words that have been formed by combining common word parts—to explore word meanings.