» L.4: Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases by using context clues, analyzing meaningful word parts, and consulting general and specialized reference materials, as appropriate.
Roots, prefixes and suffixes, oh my! Although, at first glance,CCSS L.4b (for grades 5-8) seems to be the only standard that explicitly addresses direct instruction of roots, prefixes and suffixes - the introduction, practice and reinforcement of word parts is really an integral part of success in literacy overall. It’s when you really begin to unpack the standards and pinpoint the necessary skills for success that the importance of vocabulary becomes very clear.
Within both Reading for Literature and Reading for Information, vocabulary is very important at the middles school level. There is a shift, however, in the philosophy of how this instruction should take place. The practice of giving students a list of words to look up and then write their definitions is giving way to looking at new words in context, inferring meaning based on what they read and what they already know about the word (Knowledge of roots, prefixes and suffixes would be helpful here, for sure.) and understanding why the author would have used that particular word in his or her writing. In addition, using these newly acquired words in context in their own writing is also a skill that is required of students within the Common Core.
With that said, by providing students an opportunity to work with Greek and Latin root, prefixes and suffixes that are commonly found in various content areas, their confidence in reading these often more challenging texts will grow…and so will their level of success. Here is a graphic organizer that you can use with your students as they read - especially various content-specific texts - to note new words and begin to infer meaning.
(Click on image for Google Document)
This graphic organizer is also a part of a much larger bundle for literacy center activities pertaining to roots, prefixes and suffixes. Feel free to stop by my TpT store to check it out, but please be sure to download the above FREEBIE either way. I hope you find it helpful! Also, please consider stopping by my blog, Middle School Matters Blog, for access to that and more ideas and resources for the middle school classroom. Hope to see you there!
I'm also linking this post to Teaching Blog Addict's Freebie Friday for this week. If you have a moment, take a moment to check it out. There are so many talented Teacher Bloggers to be found, and the resources are fantastic finds! Happy searching! :)