We can’t assume that students know how to break a multisyllabic word into a prefix, a suffix, and a root. As words become more complex, knowledge of roots becomes more essential for students. “Words, like stories, have structure. …Like the parts of a story, the parts of a word also carry meaning. And this is precisely what a word root is: a part of a word that carries meaning” (Rasinski, 2008, p. 26).
After reflecting on my instruction, I realize that I discuss prefix, suffix, and root, however, I’m not spending enough time on direct instruction of roots. My focus was solely on teaching decoding and comprehension at the expense of a processing words on a deeper level. Rasinski purported that teaching word roots help students “discover how to look for meaningful connections between words they already know and words that they may not know (p. 28). Hence, I’ve now made it a part of my practice to help students get to the roots of words.
In this episode, a student is confused about the suffix -ly. Listen as I help her to discover how to get to the roots of words.
Diamond, L., & Gutlohn, L. (2009). Vocabulary handbook. Baltimore, Md: Brookes.
Rasinski, T. V. (2008). Greek & Latin Roots: Keys to Building Vocabulary. Shell Education.