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Literacy Tip of the Week: Week of January 13th

posted Jan 13, 2019, 6:05 PM by Courtney Richardson
Fluent Word Study
A recent article in the International Literacy Association’s journal The Reading Teacher (Manyak, Baumann, & Manyak, April 2018) highlights simple steps for word study with fluent readers. These steps emerged as part of a research study on effective ways to teach intermediate grade students to engage in morphological analysis or “the process of using affixes, base words, and root words to infer the meaning of words.” In my work with students, I have found that these steps can easily be integrated into the Next Steps fluent lesson plan over the course of 1-2 lessons (about 5-8 minutes total). Below you’ll find a brief description of these steps. While these steps should not be the sole opportunity for students to engage in word study, they are a start and can be a regular part of the fluent stage guided reading lesson.
A two-page word document entitled “Fluent Stage Word Study Grades 3-5” has been posted in the Resources section of this site. This resource includes more details and visuals from lessons that I have taught. If you are a member of ILA or have access to the journal The Reading Teacher, I’d also encourage you to locate the article by Manyak and colleagues for more information: “Morphological Analysis Instruction in the Elementary Grades: Which Morphemes to Teach and How to Teach Them” (The Reading Teacher, April 2018). 
Steps for Introducing a New Family of Affixes
1) Introduction of an affix family: Present and discuss a chart that includes the name of the affix family and each prefix or suffix in that family. For example, if you are introducing the “not” affix family, you might present a chart with the three prefixes: un-, in-, dis-.
2) Analyze words: Explain how the affixes (that you introduced) affect the meaning of a word and discuss examples. You might say: When you see a ‘not’ family prefix, try saying the word “not” before the rest of the word. For example, in the word ‘unhappy,’ you would say “not happy” to see if that makes sense. (Share other examples like uncomfortable, incorrect, disinfected and let students practice substituting “not” for the prefix.)
3) Examine affixed and pseudo-affixed words: Share with students that some words that begin with the prefix letters may not actually contain the prefix. In the case of the “not” affix family, you might encourage students to test a word by replacing the prefix letters with the word “not.” Give them examples of affixed and pseudo-affixed words to try like uncle, unkind, uniform.
4) Practice building words: Present a set of cards that have the prefixes and a set of cards that have base words. Give a definition for a word (like “not comfortable” for the word “uncomfortable”) and ask a student to build the word using a prefix card and a base word card. If these words are unfamiliar vocabulary, spend some time discussing the meanings of these words.
5) Quiz: Provide statements for the students to complete using some of the words they just built. For example, to quiz students for the word “incorrect,” you might say: If I said that 2+2 equals 5, you would tell me that is ________. 
6) Collection challenge: Challenge students to find or notice words that include the targeted affixes and add them to a chart posted in the classroom.

Written by: Sunday Cummins