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Activities to Develop Morphological Awareness

After your child has developed the ability to sound out words, it is important that they begin to recognize words as “images” in their minds.

This skill, known as morphological awareness, involves the recognition and comprehensions of morphemes, small unit of meaning (i.e. run, banana, re-, tri-).

By teaching root words, prefixes and suffixes, your child can build morphological awareness for stronger reading success.

Here are 5 easy tips you can incorporate into your child’s reading practice to build morphological awareness and ultimately their overall reading automaticity for greater academic success.

1) Finding the Roots

Help your child understand the concept of root words, by explaining thar the root of the word os the key word in a long word. Practice identifying root words with a list of complex words.

Example: hopeful, sleeping, carefully, powerfully, enjoyment

2) Fix the Prefixes and Suffixes

Teach your child the concept of affixes by explaining prefixes (parts added to the beginning) and suffixes (part added to the end). Create a list of root words and a corresponding list of affixes, encourage your child to match the root with the correct prefix of suffix


Hope -ed

Base - ful

Tempt -ment

3) Word Sort

Build morphological awareness by recognizing word families based in morphemes. Instruct your child to examine and sort a list of words based in their morphemes. Have them find the similarity and predict the meaning of the morpheme.

Example: Colourful, disadvantage disappointed, careful

Dis- (means “not”): disadvantage, disappointed,

-ful (means “full of”): colourful, careful

4) Building Blocks

Have your child create complex words using a blend of prefixes, suffixes and roots, by making flashcards with different root words and affixes. Instruct your child to physicallyu manipulate the flash cards to create as many real words as they can.


En-, content, -ful, dis-, light, joy, de-, -ment

Possible words: contentment, discontent, delightful, joyful, enjoy

5) Create the Word, Use the Word

Your child can apply their knowledge of morphemes by using them in sentences. Provide your child with a list of root words plus one affix. Have them combine the morphemes and use the new word in a sentence.


Suffix: -ful

Root words: hope, thought, care

Words: Hopeful, Thoughtful, Careful

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