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Lesson Plan

Improve Comprehension: A Word Game Using Root Words and Affixes

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Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Three 45-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Loraine Woodard

Loraine Woodard

Berkeley, California


International Literacy Association



Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice



Middle school students love friendly competition, and word games can be an ideal context to help them study the meaning, structure, and spelling of words. In this lesson, students practice analyzing word meanings by learning root words and affixes. They work in a variety of ways with a list of about 20 common but challenging words to learn the definition and spelling of each. Then they get in small groups to design and play the Make-a-Word card game, during which they must form complete words with three cards: a prefix, a root word, and a suffix.

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Make-a-Word Game Chart: This handy chart will help your students research and record the meaning of each prefix, root word, and suffix of the words listed.

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Pressley, M. (2001). Comprehension instruction: What makes sense now, what might make sense soon. Reading Online, 5(2).

  • Word-recognition skills must be developed to the point of fluency if comprehension benefits are to be maximized. In this way students can use their cognitive skills to focus on comprehension of the text.

  • A first recommendation to educators who want to improve students' comprehension skills is to teach them to decode well.

  • Experiments have shown that comprehension improves as a function of vocabulary instruction.

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