Assessment & Skill Activities: Prefix, Suffix, and Root

Use these assessment and skill application strategies to improve your students word parts skills. Help them understand prefix, suffix, and root words with these lessons and activities!

Welcome to the final post in the Word Parts blog series! In this blog post, we’ll be discussing how you can use assessments when teaching prefixes, suffixes, and root words. We’ll share tips on creating effective assessments as well as ideas for incorporating them into your classroom practice. Additionally, we will be sharing prefix and suffix activities that can be used for skill application and building to mastery!

Assessing Knowledge of Word Parts

In order to effectively teach these concepts, it is important to have a clear understanding of the necessary skills and knowledge that students need in order to successfully apply them. So, be sure to check your grade-level standards to see which word parts are required for your students to master. Check back to the first post in this series if you missed it- Words and Their Parts: A Language & RF Study.

Assessments are an invaluable tool for assessing student understanding of language arts concepts including prefixes, suffixes, and root words. They provide a comprehensive overview of student performance as well as insight into areas that may require extra attention. By conducting regular assessments, teachers can easily identify areas where instruction needs to be tailored or modified to meet individual student needs.

Pre-Assessments for Word Parts

Pre-assessment for word parts, prefix, suffix, root words, 1st grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, 4th grade language and reading foundations

Firstly, you will need to conduct a pre-assessment to see where your students are. You want to check for understanding of word parts: Do they know what a prefix is? What a suffix is? What a root word is? Do they know how to identify and understand how word parts change word meaning?

A simple printable pre-assessment is a perfect way to check these things. Be sure to include questions/prompts that ask your students to practice each skill required from your state & grade-level standards. This will be a great help when planning what you need to teach and when measuring their growth throughout the unit!

Formative Assessments for Word Parts

Secondly, you will definitely need to include formative assessments along the way. As students learn new word parts, use a quick exit slip or printable word parts activity. When you use formative assessments, it will help you plan for small-group interventions, extension activities, and your next whole-group steps.

Another way to keep consistent formative assessments is to use interactive notebook pages. If students know that each day at the end of a lesson, they need to glue in their interactive notebook sheet and complete the activity, it will allow for assessment AND routine. You can simply check their daily entries and see who is understanding, who needs reinforcement, and who needs an intervention.

Post Assessments for Word Parts

Post-assessment for word parts, prefix, suffix, root words, 1st grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, 4th grade language and reading foundations

Lastly, at the end of the unit, a post-assessment will show student growth and who has reached a level of mastery. Because word parts are essential to fluency, foundations, and comprehension, it will be very important to know which students will need continued support as you move forward to your next reading and language skills.

Assessments pictured in this section are from the RF.3.3.a&b unit.

Skill Application for Word Parts

Now that we’ve discussed assessment, we can talk about skill application using prefix and suffix activities! As we have discussed in previous blog posts, word parts are studied in both Reading Foundations and Language, so your lessons and activities will have separate functions! However, it doesn’t mean you can be teaching these things at the same time.

Lesson Plans for Word Parts

While you may be able to include activities in your centers and small-group that cover both Reading Foundations and Language skills, I would differentiate them in my lessons. Be sure to include explicit instruction with RF word parts skills and Language word parts skills.

Remember, that when teaching word parts with an RF focus, your lessons should be directed toward word attack, recognition, and recall. Students will need to learn to identify common prefixes and suffixes. This will help build their reading fluency and accuracy.

On the other hand, when teaching word parts with a Language focus, your lessons will direct students to understand words and their parts. When learning about common prefixes, suffixes, and root words, students will focus more on understanding those word parts and how they impact the overall meaning of a word. As with RF focus, quick recognition will greatly improve students reading accuracy, but more importantly, with language, it will increase their comprehension and understanding.

Lessons pictured in this section are from the RF.3.3.a&b and L.3.4.c&d units.

Small-Group, Centers, Partner & Independent Practice

As I mentioned in the previous section, you can include mixed skills in your small-group, centers, and independent practice prefix and suffix activities. With word parts, interactive activities will be the most functional, as they will provide the most opportunities for skill practice.

Recommended Interactive Activities for Word Parts:

  • identifying-prefix/suffix/root word
    • highlighting
    • circling
    • underlining
  • sorting-prefix/suffix/root word
    • word parts cards
    • nonsense words
  • matching-prefix/suffix/root word
    • memory
    • definition matching
    • word part pairs
    • build a list
  • word building-prefix/suffix/root word
    • add a part
    • spin-a-word
    • build a list
    • break-apart
  • quick recall-prefix/suffix/root word
    • flip a card
    • one breath boxes
    • fluency lists
  • missing words & word parts-
    • fill in the blank
    • match the meaning
    • multiple choice
    • lift the flap
  • word part chains-
    • building a list of words from a singular word part (words with the same prefix, suffix, or root word)

Don’t forget about digital activities! These can be a great friend to teachers! Not only will these activities eliminate your prep, but they also work within the student’s capabilities. I love adding digital activities to centers or stations because they are fun, functional, and minimize distraction.

Recommended Digital Activities for Word Parts:

Activities pictured in this section are from the L.4.4.b and RF.3.3.a&b units, and iXL website.

Thank you so much for sticking with me through this study of word parts! I hope you found some helpful tips for teaching Prefixes, Suffixes, and Root Words in your elementary classroom. Check back soon for the next part of my blog series about Figurative Language!

Resources That Are Ready to Go!

If you’re in search of prefix and suffix activities that are ready to go, I have RF and L units with everything you need. From assessments to lesson plans, centers, and graphic organizers. Take a look at the standards you need teach below:

These RF units are complete and will help you teach prefixes, suffixes, and root words. Your students will be able to master the word attack and decoding skills they need to improve their reading fluency and accuracy.

Here are the Language units with a focus on Word Parts! These lessons and activities will offer opportunities for your students to improve their vocabulary skills and overall comprehension.

Meanwhile, would you like to read more Language posts?


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