Finding Parts of Words


This lesson allows students to practice dividing words into morphemes, and opportunities to explore the kinds of linguistic knowledge they use to make such divisions.

Grade Level: 
Grades 3-5
Grades 6-8
Class Time Needed: 
Under 30 minutes
Lesson Plan: 

Finding Parts of Words NAME:________________

Rationale: The more vast your vocabulary, the easier it is for you to understand what you read. Knowing what different word parts mean will help you in at least two ways:

1) You'll learn new vocabulary more readily, and

2) You'll be able to figure out the meaning of unfamiliar vocabulary in context easier without having to look up the words.

Objective: Become familiar with how words are put together.

1. Prefixes attach to the beginning of a word:

re + wash = rewash re = prefix

2. Suffixes attach to the end of a word:

read + able = readable able = suffix

3. The part of a word that a prefix or suffix attaches to is called a root:

rewash readable teacher disorganized

4. List the prefixes you find in the following words:

uncool impossible precooked abnormal

______ _________ _________ _________

5. List the suffixes you find in the following words:

serenity quickly excitement friendship

_____ _____ _____ _____

6. List the roots you find in the following words in 5 (they are repeated here):

serenity quickly excitement friendship

_____ ______ ______ ______

7. Parts of words are different from syllables. A word can have several syllables, but only one part. How many syllables does Mississippi have? (Clap for each syllable if that helps you count!)


# of syllables: _____

8. Now, here is a list of two-syllable words that all end in -er. One of them has an -er that is not a suffix? (Circle the right word.)

driver teacher river writer eater

9. Here's another set of words where one doesn't fit. Which one has an -ly that is not a suffix?

Lovely manly timely family

10. Which of the following words (there may be more than one, or none at all) has a prefix or suffix? Circle the word if it does.

catsup finger paper lens singer dogs

11. There is another suffix in English: -able, which occurs in words such as thinkable. Circle all the words below that have this -able suffix.

learnable cable justifiable printable stable

12. Here are a few lists of words. Which list is the one with words that -able can attach to?

count dog tall
speak house pretty
use chair ugly
control lamp sweet
ride lawn easy
fix vehicle difficult

13. Now, let's try to make up a rule for the suffix -able. What kinds of words does -able attach to? And what kinds of words does it not attach to?

The suffix -able attaches to _______________ but not to ______________ or _______________.

13. Now, divide the following words into parts, based on what we've done so far:

taller __________

blueberry __________

retest __________

running __________

untie __________

prescribe __________

walked __________

tallest __________

scissors __________

transmit __________

legalize __________

receive __________

14) How do you determine whether a word contains a prefix?

15) How do you know whether a word contains a suffix?

16) Based on your observations, how are root words different than prefixes and suffixes?

17) What's one thing you've learned about word parts from this activity?