Word Building with Prefixes and Suffixes

There are many factors in teaching young readers to grow in ability and confidence. One of those factors is helping them learn to easily decode and infer word meanings as they read. One of the best strategies for doing so is teaching word building with prefixes and suffixes. Today we're talking all about why this is important and how to employ it in your classroom! 

Use these fun and exciting activities to get in important prefixes and suffixes practice for your students this year.

The Importance of Teaching Prefixes and Suffixes 

Teaching prefixes and suffixes is time well spent in the first-grade classroom! As young students grow in their reading abilities, there are few things more important than being able to decode and infer meaning from what they've read. This skill enhances reading comprehension and overall fluency. 

In my room, we focus on doing this in a few ways, but one of my favorites is by taking a deep dive into prefixes and suffixes. Once my firsties get a handle on them, they think of prefixes and suffixes a bit like a "magic trick". Adding them can change or add meaning to words and help them understand the text. 

Enhance reading skills with these prefixes and suffixes activities your students will love.

This enhances vocabulary, helps to interpret an unfamiliar text, and instills confidence in students. All of these benefits are a huge win in my book!

What are Prefixes and Suffixes?

Prefixes are letters that are added at the beginning of a word to change the meaning and create a new word. In first grade, we focus on the prefixes dis, pre, re, and un. Some of the words in our studies for these prefixes include dislike, preschool, rewash, and unwrap. 

When working with these words, students are easily able to see that the addition of the prefix completely changes the meaning of the original word! This is where the "magic trick" analogy comes in!

Use prefixes and suffixes sheets like these to help your students build reading comprehension skills.

Suffixes are letters that are added after a base word to add meaning to the word. In our room, we focus on the suffixes -ful, -less, -ly, and -y. When teaching suffixes, I focus on what their addition adds to each word. For example, the addition of the suffix -ful means "full of", while the addition of the suffix -less means "without". 

Introducing Prefixes and Suffixes 

When we first begin working with prefixes and suffixes, I like to start out with anchor charts that provide a visual of the ones we're working with, some examples, and definitions of each. I like to use these charts during whole-group lessons so that everyone gets a baseline overview of prefixes and suffixes before we dive into small groups. 

When introducing these words, I like to hang a full-color anchor chart from my Prefixes and Suffixes Bundle or recreate one using chart paper. We cover only one of these topics at a time, starting with prefixes. I read the definitions for each, provide examples and give students the meanings of the prefixes and suffixes we're working with. 

Introduce your prefixes and suffixes with anchor charts like these.

Inside this resource, there are black-and-white versions of the anchor charts as well. I make copies of these for all of my students and have them follow along as we learn about this topic. They get to practice reading the words, interpreting them based on meaning, and then coloring in the chart. 

I've found that doing so helps my students retain this info. It also serves as a great reference sheet they can use while we practice word building with prefixes and suffixes too! After they've filled in their sheets, I have them glue them into their grammar notebooks to keep them handy. 

Working with Prefixes and Suffixes in Small Groups 

After our introduction, it's time to break up into small groups. During this focused instruction, I touch on the definitions and examples once more. Then, I provide my students with word-building flashcards that have base words and either prefixes or suffixes, depending on what we're focusing on. 

The children will choose a base word and an affix and build a new word. We check to make sure this is a real word, then decode the new meaning. Finally, students write the word down on a recording sheet. 

Small group work is fun and easy with these prefixes and suffixes worksheets your students can use with a partner or small group.

I like to do this all together when in small groups. Children will take turns repeating this process as the others observe. This method is a great way for children to watch their peers, learn new vocabulary words, and become more familiar with this topic. 

Once my students have had a chance to work on this exercise in small groups, I make this activity available for independent or partner work in centers as well. Continued practice building words and decoding their meaning is key in helping young students master this concept! 

Word Building with Prefixes and Suffixes Practice Pages 

Practice makes progress, so we continue working with affixes using no-prep, printable pages. I like to use these in small groups for skill-specific intervention, during centers, as independent practice, and even as homework. 

The pages we use have students highlight words with an affix, rewrite words, build words, choose words that match definitions, write complete sentences, and more. This variety of activities gives plenty of practice working with prefixes and suffixes in a few different ways. 

No prep word building practice pages are perfect for practicing prefixes and suffixes.

These pages are fun and interactive for students since they use cut-and-paste activities, color by code, highlighting, and writing. Often, we will use a specific page in our small group at the beginning of the week, and then I'll have kiddos complete it again on their own as a review towards the end of the week. This is a great way to make the most of the resource and check in on student understanding of prefixes and suffixes. 

Prefix and Suffix Wheels for Word Building 

Our final activity is always a student favorite. Once my students have a firm grasp on what prefixes and suffixes are, we make word-building wheels. These wheels feature one prefix or suffix on each and show 6 words that students can build with them. 

They are so fun for students to keep at their desks and use during writing activities. We have a recording sheet that goes along with them that asks students to choose one prefix or suffix and write a sentence to go along with it. I love this activity since it encourages children to think about the meaning of the prefix or suffix and come up with a way to use it in writing. 

This hands on activity is a great way for your students to get in even more prefixes and suffixes practice your students will love.

These also come in handy for writing in our journals as well. After we've worked with the prefix and suffix word building wheels, I like to ask students to choose 1 and write a short story using as many prefixes or suffixes as they can. This is a fun and creative activity that will really get those firsties thinking! It's also a great time to remind them that they can refer back to their anchor charts in their grammar notebooks as well if they need a reminder of affix meanings. 

Resources for Teaching Prefixes and Suffixes

If you're ready to help your students master first-grade affixes with a tried and true method, you can check out all of the resources mentioned here in my Prefixes and Suffixes Bundle. This resource includes anchor charts, word-building games, recording sheets, printable practice pages, and word-building wheels. 

It has everything you need to teach this topic, practice in small groups, encourage independent practice during centers, and apply it to writing. If you're looking for a simple, done-for-you way to implement these skills in your classroom, you'll love this resource! 

I hope these activities were inspiring to your lesson planning as you dive into teaching word-building with prefixes and suffixes in your room! 

Your students will love learning about prefixes and suffixes with these fun and engaging activities you can start using in your classroom today.

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Teaching prefixes and suffixes is fun and easy with these resources you can use in your classroom today. From no-prep worksheets to interactive word wheels, your students will love getting in extra prefix and suffix practice. #thechocolateteacher #prefixesandsuffixes #prefixandsuffixpractice

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