Arkansas State Personnel Development Grant

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Lesson Two


Essential Element: Vocabulary


Framework(s): Use knowledge of root words and affixes and word relationships to determine meaning

  • R.11.5.4

  • R.11.6.4

  • R.11.7.4

  • R.11.8.4




Simple prefixes and suffixes can be taught to help students discover cues for changes in word meaning. These affixes have predictable meanings, spellings and pronunciations. Background knowledge increases both fluency and comprehension. Students will gain a working knowledge of spelling, pronunciation and meaning for common affixes.




  • laminated poster board or dry erase board

  • marker



Direct Explanation: “We are using a new word wall today. The prefix ___ means ___. When added to the word _____, it changes the meaning to ________. If you see the prefix ___ when you are reading your text, then put the word on our wall and explain its meaning to the teacher.”

After teaching a prefix, have the students search their text, magazines, or newspaper for the prefix of the day. After finding the prefix, the student will write the word on the word wall and explain it to the teacher.



Model: “pre” means before; prepare, prepay, and pretest.

“mis” means wrong; misspell, misled, and misfire

“un” means not or opposite; unable, unseen, unrest

“re” means again; rerun, refine, redo

“non” means not; nonfat, nonfiction, nondairy

“sub” means under; submarine, subzero, substandard

“trans” means across; transplant, transatlantic, transfer


Ask the student to give examples and write the words on the wall.




Guided practice:

Students look for the key prefix as they read. When the key prefix is found, have the student write the word on the wall.




  • Students list 5 different words with different prefixes from the wall.

  • Students write a story and include 5 prefix words from the wall in the story.



Tier II Additions/Accommodations:

  • Student makes a vocabulary tree for each affix family.

A vocabulary tree is a wall-mounted poster that shows the word family with written meanings of each with examples.

  • Student writes 5 words from only 1 prefix family.

  • Student highlights the featured prefix word family with a specific color (un =



Assessment: Student writes a sentence (instead of a story).



Tier III Modifications:

  • Student keeps a “word notebook” at their desk.

  • Student makes a logograph card for each affix, which they keep in a notebook at their desk. A logograph card is a 3x5 or 4x6 card with the key word and a picture drawn by the student for each keyword on it.


Assessment: Student identifies the featured prefix in a sentence.



Tier IV Modifications:

  • Student keeps a “word notebook” at their desks, with pictures/icons/symbols that would help them increase their suffix and prefix vocabulary.

  • Teach the root words for the target affixes and suffixes.

  • Student has word cards that contain suffixes and prefixes found in daily activities and in specific content areas.

  • Match to sample, i.e., take picture of ‘tie shoes’ and match to ‘tied shoes’ and then ‘tied shoes’ to ‘untied shoes.’ Allow various response mechanisms.


Assessment: Student identifies the featured prefix in words. For example, in the word misfire, student would indicate the ‘mis’ for the prefix.





Tier V Modifications:

  • Match to sample, i.e., take picture of ‘tie shoes’ and match to ‘tied shoes’ and then ‘tied shoes’ to ‘untied shoes.’ Allow various response mechanisms.

  • Teach the vocabulary for the root words, i.e., tied, rest, spell, etc.

  • Demonstrate the meaning of prefixes and suffixes. Prefixes and suffixes indicate differences in space, time, number, and directionality. For example, I might say, “Redo your work” to Tier I through IV however, I might add, “I want you to do your work again” to Tier V students.


Assessment: When given a word with a feature prefix, the student will select the correct picture. Shown shoes tied and untied, student would be told, “show me the untied shoes.”






TPRI Intervention Activities Guide (2004), p.85 (#7.24)


Steven A. Stahl (1999) Vocabulary Development, p. 45-47


Beers, Kylene (2003) When Kids Can’t Read What Teachers Can Do: A Guide for Teachers 6-12, Heinemann, p. 176-203


Copyright © 2006 Arkansas Department of Education. All rights reserved. School districts may reproduce these materials for in-school student use only. No resale. Materials may not be reproduced, distributed or sold for Commercial use or profit. ADE employees are not authorized to waive these restrictions.

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