Determining Meaning from Word Parts Lesson Plan: Word Parts and Their Meanings

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Befuddled by Vocabulary?

I gave a vocabulary list not long ago with the word aggrandizement. Out of 37 students, not a single one found it in the dictionary. Befuddled, I grabbed the dictionary. It was in there and I showed it to several students. Befuddled, they asked where. Befuddled, I pointed to it. Befuddled, They still didn’t see it. Befuddled, I highlighted it with the yellow Sharpie I had stolen from the supply room the day before. Befuddled, they looked at me strange and said, “That’s not aggrandizement. That’s aggrandize.” Befuddled, I rammed the yellow Sharpie I had stolen the day before from the supply room up my left nostril and decided to do a determining meaning from word parts lesson plan and teach word parts and meanings.

Here’s how to teach word parts and meaning by using this determining meaning from word parts lesson plan.

Determining Meanings from Word Parts Lesson Plan Procedures

Write on the board the following:

  • Prefix: a word part that is added at the beginning of another word or word part

  • Suffix: a word part that is added to the end of another word or word part

  • Base word: a complete word to which a prefix and/or a suffix may be added. It can stand on its own.

  • Root: a word part to which a prefix and/or suffix may be added. A root cannot stand on its own.

Explain that each part of the word contributes to its meaning. By learning the meanings of common prefixes and suffixes, we can figure out the meaning by just knowing the meaning of the base word or root. That’s why dictionaries often only define the base word (At this point, think but don’t say, “so quit asking me stupid questions during vocabulary assignments!").

Give examples. Use mine if you wish:

  • transcontinental: trans is the prefix; continent is the base word; al is the suffix.

  • entrapment: en is the prefix; trap is the base word; ment is the suffix.

  • refortify: re is the prefix; fort is the root; fy is the suffix.

Teach Word Parts and Meaning: A Word about Suffixes

Students often struggle to use and understand different forms of a word correctly. Be sure to teach them suffixes do more than just change the meaning of a word; they change its part of speech. Here are some common suffixes with their part of speech:

  • noun suffixes that make people who do things: command**_ant_,** teach**_er_,** mortic**_ian_,** pian**_ist_**

  • noun suffixes that make abstract words: const**_ance_,** imagine**_ation_,**confuse**_ion_,** atti**_tude_,** aut**_ism_,** coloniz_**ation**_

  • suffixes that turn base words or roots into adjectives: read**_able_**, viv**_acious_**, magic**_al_**, mass**_ive_**, beauti**_ful_**

  • suffixes that turn base words or roots into verbs: fabric**_ate_**, enlight**_en_**, magni**_fy_**, final**_ize_**

  • suffixes that change base words and roots to adverbs: happi**_ly_**, like**_wise_**, sky**_ward_**.

This post is part of the series: Effective Vocabulary Instruction

Increasing student vocabulary enhances their ability to communicate effectively.

  1. Effective Strategies for Teaching Vocabulary
  2. Lesson Plans: Greek and Latin Roots
  3. Even More Effective Vocabulary Strategies
  4. Strategies for Unlocking Word Meanings: Using Context Clues
  5. Determining A Word’s Meaning From Context: Different Types of Context Clues
  6. Determining Meaning from Word Parts Lesson Plan: Analyzing Word Parts