Thursday, February 9, 2017

Beginning Word Roots: A Review

Everything has a beginning.  This is how we began our study of root words.  Trees have roots and so do words, I explained to Lionheart, who wondered aloud, "why do I have to do this!?"  I wanted him to understand that the key to unlocking the meaning of new and unfamiliar words is understanding their roots.  Sharing this tidbit made teaching this abstract concept a bit more relevant to his young life.

Word Roots, published the by Critical Thinking Company, was our first adventure into vocabulary study.  More efficient than studying random lists of vocabulary words, Word Roots, instead focuses on prefixes, suffixes and roots.  Understanding the meaning of a specific prefix or suffix helps unlock far more words and their meanings.  For example, in Lesson 15, the root word "port," which means to carry, is the focus.  Pair "port" with the prefixes "ex, im, sup, trans," and 4 more words are decoded.  I encouraged Lionheart to treat it like detective work to make it fun!

The first 3 lessons of the text focus on prefixes, suffixes and roots, separately.  Each concept is defined, followed by simple exercises for practice.  The layout is nice and there is plenty of white space and a few illustrations so as not to overwhelm.  Other exercises include drawing a line from the word to its picture representation, defining the words, and filling in the blank with the correct word.

Lessons 4-7 focus on prefixes and roots, while lessons 8-11 focus on roots and suffixes. Breaking up the concepts in this way decreased confusion for Lionheart and allowed for plenty of practice to attain mastery.

Lessons 12-24 combine all three concepts: prefixes, roots and suffixes.  There are 10 reviews  that increase in difficulty as the child progresses.  One review includes matching the word with the correct meaning and creating words by combining the correct prefix and root word. Another review involves circling the correctly spelled word, for example:  fertile, fertill and furtile. By the last review, the child is asked to write a complete sentence using a word from the choice box.  I expect Lionheart to be pretty challenged by this exercise, especially given the choice of words, which includes "revivify."  I had to look that one up myself!

By the end of the book, with a little hard work, Lionheart should have expanded his vocabulary and  be able to use his knowledge of prefixes and suffixes to decode new words like vivacious, when broken down means viv (live, live) and acious (having the quality of).

Word Roots is a part of the Timberdoodle 4th-6th grade homeschool curriculum package.

1 comment:

  1. This is much easier than learning Latin! We also use membean which is online, but I believe kids get a lot more out of writing the word roots.