Build-a-Word – Lesson Idea #28

by Ana on May 20, 2008

This hands-on activity helps to reinforce the use of affixes (suffixes and prefixes) to help build and add to your child’s vocabulary. You’ll need some index cards or sentence strips, markers, some baggies, and a list of root words and affixes.

  1. Use a list of root words and affixes to help you make word cards – you can also pull words from the books or selections you have worked on or plan to work on with your child.
  2. Choose a different color marker to write the prefixes, roots, and suffixes onto the cards. For example prefixes can be green, roots purple, and suffixes orange. Place all of the word parts in labeled baggies.
  3. Have your child try to build as many words as they can with the word parts given. You can even have them practice their writing by making a list of all of the words they come up with. Kids love to compete with each other to see who can make the most words – so involve a sibling or friend that can also work with these words for even more fun!
  4. Sample words using prefix: out-, root: stand, suffix: -ing

standing
outstanding
outing

Those are three words from just from one set of word parts. Imagine how many words your child can create with baggies full of word parts!

  • It’s important that your child comes up with real words that make sense! You can let them use a dictionary and/or thesaurus to check their words to make sure they’re real.
  • This is an excellent time to discuss the meanings of these word parts and how affixes can instantly change the meaning of a word. It’s a fun way to make your kids see the power of words!

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