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Vocabulary Morphemic Analysis

Page history last edited by Lisa Holton 15 years, 11 months ago

Morphemic Analysis



Morphemic Analysis is a reading or word learning technique that empowers a reader to decipher the meaning of words by using the parts of a word “to approximate meaning” (p. 233 Alvermann). Students do not always have at their disposal a teacher or a dictionary to help when it comes to understanding new vocabulary.  Morphemic Analysis is a technique that can be used by students in the Social Studies class room by understanding the context in which the word is being used or by breaking the word down and recognizing familiar word parts.

"Research shows that there are more words to be learned than can be directly taught in even the most ambitious program of vocabulary instruction. Explicit instruction in word-learning strategies gives students tools for independently determining the meanings of unfamiliar words…." (Internet)



  • Prefix, suffix, and root explanation
  • Context clues explanation
  • Hand out vocabulary list and have students infer their meanings while working in groups or pairs
  •  Hand out small reading passage heavily laden with content specific vocabulary and have students infer their meanings by filling in blanks following each vocabulary word.



Alvermann, Donna, Stephen Phelps, & Victoria Ridgeway.  (2007). Content Area Reading and Literacy: Succeeding in Today's Diverse Classrooms.  Boston: Pearson, p.233 .





Other Procedures



Morphemic analysis and the understanding of prefixes, roots and bases is a strategy that can help students beyond our classrooms.   In the language arts classroom, this instruction fits logically, but the direct instruction of it is only the beginning. After we have a base understanding of the word parts and have established the ‘basics’ in each category (prefix, root, suffix), I would ask students to take turns bringing in words that they do not know that they have seen in the “real world” and we would use our morphemic analysis skills to see if we can break the word down. I would also offer my own variations in case this didn’t happen consistently enough. Considering why and how a word is constructed and helping students see that words have patterns in many cases is a very applicable and flexible lesson/skill set to share with students.

Contributed by Lisa Holton

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