Does prefix have a prefix?

Students learn in a cooperative setting to identify, define, and construct words with prefixes. Students guess at initial meanings and spellings of words, correct misspellings using spelling strategies developed by their work groups, and use resources such as spell checkers and dictionaries to arrive at correct spellings and definitions. To help assess comprehension, students write sentences for each prefix group the class has worked on during the lesson.  This lesson involves whole-group instruction, cooperative learning, and using online or hard copy dictionaries to confirm spelling and meaning. The formative and summative assessments require higher-level thinking from the students, such as writing original sentences with words from a list that contain prefixes rather than matching or simply identifying the words.

Standards & Objectives

Learning objectives: 

Students will:

  • Identify and define the role of prefixes in the English language
  • Develop strategies for using prefixes to decode and comprehend words
  • Spell and put into a sentence a determined number of words in four different prefix groups
  • Work cooperatively with fellow students for the benefit of all
  • Become comfortable with taking risks (i.e., making guesses that may prove initially incorrect)
  • Increase facility with dictionary or other spell checking sources


Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Extension suggestions: 

You may post a special "Prefix of the Month" chart in your classroom. Students can simply add words that contain the featured prefix.

You may choose from the list a particularly tricky word and take a few minutes to help the class decode it. This encourages students to seek out unusual words for the chart.

There are several excellent websites available to students to help them learn about prefixes. The Vocabulary Workshop is particularly straightforward and easy to navigate.

Helpful Hints

Materials needed:

  • Colored markers (2 of the same color for each group)
  • Index cards
  • Set of dice
  • Sheets of large chart paper
  • Sticky notes