Each year a student is in school, they should learn about 3,000 new words. I know this sounds like a huge number, but this does take into account words such as drive, driven, drove. Research indicates that by the time a student is in the fourth grade, they should be introduced to the 20 most used prefixes in the words they will encounter throughout the remainder of their educational career. If students are introduced to these words at this age, they will have a huge learning edge on vocabulary knowledge.
Word formation helps
When students learn word formation at an early age, their vocabulary will increase exponentially. When students are introduced to word parts such as prefixes, root words and suffixes, this helps them in understanding content knowledge. Students are able to analyze a word from the root and the affix attached to it. They understand that prefixes change the meaning of a word, suffixes change the state of being of a word or the tense of a word such as the past or present tense of a word.
How to teach a new word
When teaching students a new word, it is important that we teach the basics of each word we introduce to them. For example:
- Word meaning
- A picture of the word
- What the word is
- What the word is not
- Does the word have a sound, feeling, taste, etc.
- Most importantly, how it is connected to prior knowledge of other words
One way to encourage affix learning is to have students invent their own words. Shakespeare was one of the most notable wordsmith. He invented many words that we still use today, such as bedroom and marketable. Create a list of 20 prefixes students will most likely encounter. Create a list of 20 root words and affixes. Place each on a card and have students to invent their new words from this list of words. Students should begin to use their new word in sentences and even a short paragraph.
GRAB THE DREAM!!! Genola B. Johnson Dr. Genola Johnson has over 20 years in education. She is the Executive Director of Georgia Educational Learning Consultants, Inc. and a biweekly blog www.instrucology.com.