TEAC 951A

A Way with Words
Learning and Understanding Morphology in Third Grade
Kelly Kingsley 5/5/2010

This study looks at morphology instruction for third graders and how it affects their retention of prefixes and suffixes and their ability to use what they have learned and apply it to new words.

2 A Way with Words

Finding My Way
For the past year, I have been curious about how changing my practice in the instruction of spelling would help students to retain the word spellings beyond the weekly post-test. I felt there had to be components missing in my lessons regarding spelling. I needed to find a better way to instruct my students to increase their word spelling retention. I initially included word sorts, group games, and small group instruction into my spelling lessons. The students were learning to spell wonderful words, but they really didn’t know how to use the words or how to generate words that were related to the root word. I knew there was still something missing in my spelling program, but I couldn’t put my finger on what was missing. I was fortunate to be able to attend Freddie Hiebert’s workshop on vocabulary. Her main point was to help students understand word meaning and how to make related words from root words. She used a term; I had either not really paid attention to or had not heard before, morphology. She stated that students needed to have morphological awareness. Suddenly, the light bulb went on in my head; that was the missing component in my spelling program. Ehri (1986) identified three broad stages of spelling development and the third stage is Morphemic: The child becomes more aware of conventional spelling, employing visual and morphological information in spelling. So how did I go about helping my students become aware of morphology? I decided before I could instruct my students regarding morphology, I needed to understand it myself. I needed to learn about morphology and how it would function in my classroom. I needed to get my hands on scholarly articles regarding morphology. Improved morphological knowledge allows students to use larger meaningful chunks of information (morphemes) to decode, comprehend,

3 A Way with Words and spell more effectively. Their increased vocabulary and spelling knowledge can in turn facilitate their writing (McCutchen, et al., 1994). I began by having my students write a spelling word, define it, use it in a sentence and then draw a picture of the word. This would definitely help them learn the word so they could use it more effectively, right? Well, yes and no. When asked to use a spelling word in a sentence, some students were able to this correctly, while others were not so successful. I was working toward my students gaining word meaning knowledge, but, was this really what the research supporting morphology was implying? I needed to find another way to help students find a way to understand word structure and forms of words. Scott and Nagy, 2000, show that most students have difficulty understanding the definitions and then being able to use the word correctly in a sentence. They point out that there are significant obstacles to dictionary use and they strongly caution the use of them. The authors state, it seems inappropriate to ask students to look up new words in the dictionary without additional support or scaffolding, particularly if they have not been taught how to read definitions (p. 198). They ask the question that I was asking the whole time I was reading this article, "What can be done to improve the way students learn new vocabulary?" They do suggest that integrating the information in a definition with a context sentence, is a more difficult process than many parents, teachers, publishers, and researchers presume (p.198). I needed to help my students see how words could be divided into roots and stems, each contributing to the meaning (and spelling) of the word (Hurry et al., 2005). Teaching that makes children more aware of morphemes has a positive effect on their vocabulary growth and promotes spelling and language development in the classroom(Teaching and Learning Research Programme, 2006). My program would need components to improve my student’s vocabulary

4 A Way with Words and their word attack strategies by boosting their awareness of morphemes. The components could include: adding and subtracting morphemes, creating analogies, making invented words with real morphemes and guessing the meanings of the word, discover grammatical categories to sort words, and counting morphemes. Word conscious learners have an awareness of and an interest in new words, their meanings, and their power; students begin to take notice of words they read, hear, and those they write or speak (Armbruster, Lehr, & Osborn, 2001). When teachers focus on creating word conscious learners many students for the first time are actually motivated to learn new words. Motivation is everything; people accomplish little unless they are motivated to do so. If students are to achieve academically, they must be motivated to learn and use many new words. Oliver Wendell Homes said, “Once the mind is stretched by a new idea it never goes back to its original dimension.” That quote speaks to the powerful outcome of creating word conscious students. We have all heard unfamiliar words used in conversation and pondered the meaning once the chat ended. Research indicates the brain is curious and has a need to know or figure out different or unfamiliar information. Traditional practices have done little to motivate students to be word learners; past results at best focused on a passing acquaintance with words.

Learning from Others
Word conscious learners have an awareness of and an interest in new words, their meanings, and their power; students begin to take notice of words they read, hear, and those they write or speak (Armbruster, Lehr, & Osborn, 2001). It is important that morphology instruction may play a very important role by providing students of all ability levels enhanced access to word reading and word meaning (Reed, 2008). When teachers focus on creating word conscious learners many students for the first time are actually motivated to learn new words. Listening to children

5 A Way with Words to understand their confidence is strong and where they feel they struggle helps the teacher to know when to step in and when to give their student’s space. Traditional practices have done little to motivate students to be word learners. Past results at best focused on a passing acquaintance with words. Motivation is everything. People accomplish little unless they are motivated to do so. If students are to achieve academically, they must be motivated to learn and use many new words. Children who have knowledge of morphemes learn that these meaningful word parts are spelled similarly in different words where they appear, even if the pronunciation is altered. This can also transfer to spelling where children with better morphological ability were more often able to choose the correct and reject the incorrect spelling of words with a wide range of morphological complexity (Reed, 2008). Students who are able to decompose words into their constituent parts and utilize morphological relatedness among words have been projected to learn approximately two to three more new words per day than if they did not (or could not) engage in any morphological problem solving (Anglin et al., 1993; Nagy & Anderson, 1984). Anglin’s study (1993) shows that a great deal of the vocabulary growth of elementary school children can be accounted for by an increasing ability to deal with morphologically complex words. Freyd and Baron (1982) found that fast vocabulary development is enhanced by morphological awareness. Morphological knowledge matters. Children acquire a more extensive vocabulary by making use of their ability to analyze and comprehend words via morphological constituents (Bertram et al., 2000). Nagy and Anderson state there is an important role for morphology in learning of new vocabulary. Frequency cannot be the only criterion by which words are chosen for instruction. The introduction of new words should be determined by family relationships, so they can be taught together as a family. This would reinforce the learning of base words and word-

6 A Way with Words formation processes (Nagy & Anderson, 1984). Successful readers must learn a large number of words from context. If they have a large vocabulary they are better at inferring word meaning from context. This also relates to their morphological relatedness among words. Nagy and Anderson hypothesize that the principal force driving vocabulary growth is volume of experience with language. Starting in third grade, the major determinant of vocabulary growth is the amount of free reading. Vocabulary instruction needs to teach skills and strategies that would help children become independent word learners (Nagy & Anderson, 1984). Morphological awareness may contribute to both reading and writing in at least five different ways by (a) providing insight into the writing system, (b) enabling readers to read and spellers to produce longer words more accurately and fluently, (c) contributing to syntactic parsing(reading) or packaging (writing), (d) increasing children's ability to decontextualize language and process in analytically, and (e) facilitating written and oral vocabulary learning, which in turn affects reading and writing acquisition (p. 730) and learning to read and write draws on orthographic and phonological mappings in the beginning, but increasingly draws on orthographic, phonological, and morphological mappings as written words become morphologically more complex (Nagy, et al, 2003). Perhaps the most effective step that teachers can take to assist vocabulary learning is to help students create effective ways to remember the meanings of new words, either through the use of keywords or root words (Pressley et al., 1987). Looking at morphology instruction is doing just that, helping students learn keywords and root words. Morphological knowledge entails sensitivity to the internal, meaning-related structure of words, including knowledge of inflections and derivational forms (Green, et al., 2003). Nagy and Scott's (2000) identification of five aspects of word knowledge used in reading quite enlightening. (a) Instrumentality: Knowing a word is not an all-or-nothing matter. (b)

7 A Way with Words Multidimensionality: word knowledge consists of qualitatively different types of knowledge such as understanding nuances of meaning between words. (c) Polysemy: many words have multiple meanings, and the more common the word, the more meanings it is likely to have. (d) Interrelatedness: learning or knowing a word often entails derivation or association with the meanings of related words, either in linguistic context or in one's semantic memory store. (e) Heterogeneity: a word's meaning differs depending on its function and structure (p. 286-287).

Purpose of Study
The purpose of this action research project is to examine how vocabulary instruction with a morphological emphasis in third grade may improve both their vocabulary retention and increase their ability to decode and comprehend new vocabulary. I predict that increasing the morphological awareness of third grade students would result in greater vocabulary comprehension and word recognition for that student. I also predict that the vocabulary practice with morphology will increase that student's use of root words, suffixes, prefixes and inflected endings. This study is particularly interested in the possible improvement differences within students initially demonstrating low levels, average levels, and high levels of vocabulary.

Methodology
Participants The participants in this project attend a school which serves a population of middle income families, high mobility and diverse ethnicity. This project will look at comprehension results for twenty third grade students of all academic levels, with an emphasis on three third grade students, one from a low, average, and high vocabulary level. Kahea is incredibly articulate and very comfortable speaking with adults. She is a high ability learner with a great appetite for learning. Kahea is a very bright, energetic, and enthusiastic

8 A Way with Words learner. She has very strong self-efficacy; she truly believes she will succeed at any academic situation I can put her in. Kahea loves to play with language and will notice words she is not familiar with and pursue finding out what those words mean and how to use them. She values learning and is willing to accept any challenge in learning set in front of her.

Brett, on the other hand, truly struggles in school. He has a difficult time with reading, writing, and spelling, and also is easily distracted in learning situations. Brett shies away from learning challenges and seeks help often when involved in the learning process. Brett plays with language in a different way than Kahea does. Since he struggles with learning new words, he relies on the help of others to figure out new words and how to use them. Brett doesn’t appear to value learning, but he wants to succeed to make his parents happy. Tony is an average student. When he is engaged and interested he is an active learner and participates readily. When he is distracted by other students or not interested in the context of the lesson Tony will usually disengage and appear disinterested. Tony plays with language when he finds it interesting. He doesn’t pursue difficult tasks but he will attempt them if he is required to do so. Tony struggled with reading and comprehension at the beginning of the year and worked with the school reading specialist. He improved his comprehension over the first 3 quarters of school and was excused from the reading program and has worked hard to maintain his reading growth. He has also “bounced” around in spelling ability. His spelling inventory resulted in a higher ability of spelling than he was capable of handling on a daily basis. He has gone from the above grade level group to the at grade level group. Intervention

9 A Way with Words In this project, use of two vocabulary lists will be employed. One list of prefixes and suffixes will be instructed in the classroom using activities to enhance the instruction of the morphology of the words. The second list of prefixes and suffixes will not be taught, but will have both close and far generalizations to the first list. I will give my students a pretest to assess what words they are familiar with and what words they are unfamiliar with. I will introduce the list of words that will be taught to the class and have the students work with the words to learn the morphological structure of each word, as well as the word meaning. I will interview three students, one from each ability level to gain an understanding of how each student feels about word learning. Following four weeks of direct instruction of the vocabulary list to be taught, I will provide my students with a post test of instructed words and words that were not instructed to compare to the pretest results. Here is an example of a week’s lesson of direct instruction (Templeton, 2008): The Prefix un- (not, opposite or reverse ) Day 1 Most words in English are made by combining prefixes and suffixes with base words and word parts from Greek and Latin. Greek and Latin were languages spoken over 2,000 years ago. We’re going to be learning more about the most re important prefixes, suffixes, and Greek and Latin roots in the language. If you know these word parts, you will be able to read thousands of words in English. You will also be able to figure out the meaning of thousands of words in English, too! 1. Write the following words on the board: selfish fair

10 A Way with Words Read and discuss what each word means. Having students turn and talk with a partner is a good way to get this going, and then share out. (For example: How would you describe someone who is selfish? If someone acts in a fair way, how would you describe that?) 2. Add the prefix un- to each word. Ask: How do you think adding the prefix un- to these words affects their meanings? 3. Write the following words on the board, and talk about how un- affects the meaning of each: unpack unwrap unbutton uncle Uncle is the exception or oddball, and helps them realize that the letters un- are not always a prefix. (You may choose to use the term oddball to refer to words that do not follow the pattern.) So, how do you think we should define the prefix un- ? What meanings do you think it has? This discussion is important: While some students will identify the meaning not, by talking about the words unpack, unwrap , and unbutton , you will lead them to the understanding that it also usually means the opposite or reverse of the word it s attached to. Write down the definition you decide on. un-? has?” “not,” unwrap, unbutton, “opposite” “reverse” it’s attached to. Now let s say we ran into this sentence when we were reading an article in the paper about the high school football game [write this sentence on the board]: The quarterback was knocked unconscious when he was tackled. How can we figure out what the word unconscious means? Discuss with the students how they can combine the meaning of un- with the word conscious and, together with the rest of the sentence, figure out the meaning. There are two things we’re going to do in our Vocabulary Notebooks today: First, write down our un- words. Then, write down our definition for un-. Day 2

11 A Way with Words 1. Display the words from Day 1. Ask students: What is our definition of the prefix un-? 2. Write the following words on the board: unable unpleasant

With a partner, determine the meaning of each word, write a sentence for each word, and then write your sentences in your Vocabulary Notebook. Today and tomorrow, keep your eye out for words that contain the un- prefix . They could be anywhere: In our reading, on billboards, in newspapers, or in conversations you are having or ones you overhear. Record or write them down in your Vocabulary Notebooks. If you find any oddballs, write those down in a separate column. We will share what you find over the next two days. (Optional, though highly recommended): I’ll put up a un- chart on the wall, and any un- words you find that are really interesting, write them on our chart. I’ll do that as well! Day 3 What are some un- words that you have found? Were you able to figure out the meaning? (If a chart has been posted, check that as well.) Day 4 Check any additional un- words the students may have recorded. Review the meaning of un-: not, opposite or reverse. Share a few sentences that the students have written. If a student is not certain about the meaning of a word they found, this is a good opportunity to talk about the word with the class and try to tease out its meaning. If students can share the source of the word that provides an excellent context for the discussion of the meaning, un-: “not,” “opposite” “reverse.” Timeline This action research takes the form of an A-B-A-B design, with the following schedule:

12 A Way with Words Phase 1 (Baseline): Teacher pretests students with instructed and uninstructed lists. Vocabulary module is used to assess word knowledge. Phase 2 (Intervention): Direct instruction of the list of words to be taught, highlighting morphological patterns. Phase 3 (Withdrawal): Teacher posttests students with instructed and uninstructed lists. Phase 4: (Intervention): Teacher interviews three students, one from each academic level to assess their word learning awareness.

Analysis
All student pre and posttests will be recorded in three areas, words they already knew, words they knew the meaning of, and words they could make connections to. The interview data will also be recorded in the previously mentioned areas and the made-up root words assessment. All of this information will be analyzed both within and across phases, to determine if noticeable differences exist between ability levels and instructed and uninstructed words.

Learning from Students
In Their Own Words
I conducted a word awareness interview with Tony, Brett and Kahea to find out what they thought about words and how they used words, I wanted to understand their thoughts and feelings regarding the vocabulary and spelling instruction that was occurring in my classroom and where their engagement fit in. The teacher should provide meaningful activities the will enhance the student’s confidence in their abilities by becoming aware of how students learn and use words in the classroom and in their personal experiences. Kahea and I met after school on March 9 to visit in the quiet of my classroom. Kahea was excited to answer my questions and even asked if she could use humor in the interview.

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I asked Kahea how she went about learning new words. “I sound them out, look at the pictures, and decode the word into words I know. My dad gives me words to figure out what they mean. I go to Google to figure them out. I draw pictures of words and write what they mean. ” I inquired about what she liked/disliked about learning new words. “I don’t like learning new words because it is boring. Sometimes, I do, so I can transfer them to sentences to look smart.” She has a huge smile as she says the last sentence. When asked how she makes words her own, Kahea answered, “I remember how to spell

them and what they mean. I keep using the word. I use it a lot so I remember. The new words you give me, well I keep using them to make them my own, like the word livid.” I had had an early conversation that week with Kahea about Danica Patrick, a NASCAR race car driver, who had lost her race and Kahea had said she was really angry. I said, “Oh, so you were livid?” She grabbed that word and used it in conversation, shared it with friends, and used it in her writing. Kahea also shared this new word with Heather and both used the word in a personal narrative they wrote that week. Our conversation continued when I asked Kahea how she incorporated new words into her writing. “I use them where they make sense. If I don’t, people will go, “What? I like to make it interesting for the reader.” Kahea and I talked about how research states spelling, reading, and writing can be related. “That is true. When you read you learn a lot of words. In writing you use those words and in spelling you use words that are connected to make your sentences more powerful.”

Kahea enjoyed learning and using new words, so she found looking up words, learning their definitions and using those words engaging. Kahea’s interview about words was quite different from the one I conducted with Brett. I interviewed Brett during free time on March 31. It was rather noisy in the classroom and this made it a little more difficult for Brett to focus on the questions I was asking him. If I had to do it all over again, I would have arranged to meet with Brett after school when it would have been a quiet and calm atmosphere.
I asked Brett what he did when he encountered words he didn’t know. “I sometimes I divide them out with syllables. I look them up in the dictionary or ask somebody that does know.” I then asked Brett how he makes a word his own. He replied, “If I have trouble and I’m not spelling it right a lot, I keep on trying.

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Word Work (my classroom lessons) really helps me look up words in the dictionary. You sometimes challenge me with my spelling words. Long words are hard to read.” I turned the conversation to Brett’s word work and his writing. I asked Brett how he uses new words in writing. He said, “I make ‘em make sense. I use the word wall, the dictionary …um…” When I told Brett that research supports the idea of reading, writing, and spelling to be connected, he really didn’t know where I was coming from. I got a blank stare, so I clarified by asking him if he thought a person needed to be able to read to be able to write and spell. “Um, you have to be able to read the word correctly.” I asked him, “Do you think spelling and writing have helped you learn to read? His answer was, “Uh huh.”

Brett was not very comfortable speaking to me one-on-one. I am not sure why. He loves to tell me stories about his family, so I didn’t think this would be an issue for him. I don’t think he enjoyed being singled out from his peers. I also learned that Brett views long words as difficult. So when I am looking at words to engage in him in Word Work I will need to keep in mind that he finds long words difficult. Making sure Brett has many books at hand that are at his reading level will keep him engaged when reading to himself or to someone else. I also interviewed Tony on March 31. He was excited to talk to me but struggled at times to clarify his answers.
I asked Tony, “What do you do when you encounter words you don’t know?” He said, “I look them up in the dictionary to use the right one.” I inquired, “What else do you do if you don’t have a dictionary handy?” Tony replied, “I ask 3 people and if they don’t know I ask the teacher.” I asked him, “What do you like about learning new words?” He told me, “They’re very exciting, some of them are fun.” I then asked, “What don’t you like about learning new words?” Tony stated, “They’re kind of hard because they’re new words and some you haven’t even said or heard before.” I asked Tony, “How do you make words your own? What do you do so that you can use them and remember them?” He answered, “You use that word; you use it over and over so your memory and it goes from the short term to the long term.”

15 A Way with Words I had instructed my students on how memory works (Shell, et al. The Unified Learning Model) and when we do repetitive tasks there is a reason for it. We move the information from our short term memory to our long term memory.
I continued our interview by asking, “How many times do you think you need to use that word before you remember it and can use it all the time?” Tony said, “Um, I think you have to memorize it a lot.” I asked, “Do you think 10 times? 5 times? A 100 times?” Tony replied, “Maybe 10, 20.” I then asked, “How do you take those new words that you’ve learned and put them in your writing? What do you do?” Tony just sat there with a blank stare, I knew he needed more clarification, so I asked him, “Do you try to use your new words or do you stick with words you’re pretty comfortable with when you write?” He answered,
“Well,

words I’m comfortable with.” I inquired, “When you’re writing, if I said focus on word choice, what

you think that would mean?” Tony wasn’t sure what I was asking and replied, “You focus. Focus means you’re staring at something and you’re focused on that.” I pressed on trying to clarify my question, “So if I said, “Make sure when you’re writing you use good word choice.” What do I mean by word choice?” Tony answered, “You mean you should use great words.” I asked, “What would be a great word that you would use in your writing?” Tony said, “Um, instead of good you can use exciting.”

I found out from Tony that repetition is important. He needs to use words over and over so he can make them his own. Tony needs the words he is working with presented to him orally as well as in printed form so he knows what they sound like. The ability of the student did dictate their confidence and ability to work with words. Kahea is a very confident learner and her confidence allowed her to pursue the use of new words without fear. Tony’s confidence was growing as he worked with words. He was working to put words into his long term memory. Brett’s confidence was lacking when it came to words, he didn’t like long words because they were too difficult for him. Each child is on their own path and walking their own journey with word work.

16 A Way with Words The instruction I conducted in my classroom allowed for these variables. The information was differentiated so that each child could feel confident when working with the prefixes and suffixes. I met with each of the spelling groups and worked with each group to understand the use of prefixes and suffixes. I presented the information in multiple ways encouraging students to take the information presented and then use the lesson to help them discover other words that followed the prefix or suffix patterns. Activities in my classroom were used to help my students focus on the meaning of the different prefixes and suffixes. My intention was to improve my students’ morphological awareness with these activities to help them to facilitate new words. Each student created a prefix and suffix book. Inside the book were activities that were done following the instruction of each prefix and suffix. The student thoroughly enjoyed the activities and even asked when we would be doing more of them. They used the books to review what they had learned and they also used them as a reference for understanding other words with similar prefixes and suffixes. If a student missed a morphology lesson a student that felt confident in their knowledge of the prefix or suffix that was taught became the teacher. The student worked one-on-one with the student who missed to the lesson to help them understand what they missed. I happened to overhear a couple of my students who were working on word meaning. Tony was working with the word teacher. He said, “What should I write for the word teacher? I know what one is, but I don’t know how to say it.” Taylor, who was sitting next to him, casually states, “Well, you know teacher means one who teaches.” I wanted to leap for joy. Hearing one of my students using the vocabulary and meaning of the suffix –er was so gratifying.

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Student Learning
Did Learning Occur? Children could use morphology to bootstrap their vocabulary development and increased vocabulary could be very useful during text generation (Green et al., 2003). Derivational affixes are more challenging for all populations, due in part to their greater number and lower frequency. Prefixes tend to be easier to acquire because they are almost always neutral, meaning they do not cause phonological shifts in the pronunciation of the newly formed words (Reed, 2008). The results from the posttest on instructed prefixes showed that students increased their knowledge of prefix meaning from the pretest. Prefix
Student Knows Definition of Prefix Student Knows Definition of Prefix

Pretest Results misprereundisinnonbiim40% 50% 65% 65% 75% 30% 65% 10% 40%

Posttest Results 80% 65% 95% 90% 95% 80% 100% 70% 85%

Students had the easiest time learning and remembering that quite a few of the prefixes meant not. We sorted and made a list of the prefixes that meant not. This helped the students focus on the prefixes that meant something else. There was some confusion between pre- and re-. Many

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students stated that pre- and re- meant again. I am sure that more practice with the two prefixes would help to clarify the two. Suffixes on the other hand, can be non-neutral and cause more complicated shifts in phonology and semantics (Reed, 2008). Descriptive studies on derivational suffixes suggest that frequency of related words, neutrality of the suffix, and age of acquisition might be related to increases in students’ recognition of derived words (Carlisle & Katz, 2006; Nagy et al., 1989; Carlisle & Stone, 2005; White, Power & White, 1989; Anglin et al., 1993). The results from the posttest on instructed suffixes showed that students increased their knowledge of suffix meaning from the pretest.

Suffix

Student Knows Definition of Suffix

Student Knows Definition of Suffix

Pretest Results
-ly -less -er -ful -ible -able -or 0% 10% 10% 45% 10% 20% 30%

Posttest Results
30% 20% 80% 80% 20% 30% 70%

The students increased their knowledge of suffixes and meanings, but it wasn’t as large a gain as with prefixes. This could come from the age of acquisition or the frequency of the suffixes they have encountered. The suffixes –er and –or were easiest for students to learn and remember, more likely do the frequency they encounter the suffixes and that is it easy to use with the root word. The other suffix students found easy to work with was –ful, since the definition is so closely related to the actual suffix, it was very easy for them to remember.

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At the end of each week of direct instruction the students played a memory game with the prefixes, suffixes and definitions. They would take turns matching the prefix to its meaning or the suffix to its meaning. The students told me this was a very helpful tool and that it really made a difference in their memory of them. Once all of the words and prefixes and suffixes had been instructed, the class played another memory game using the words with prefixes or suffixes and the meaning of the words. The class again mentioned that this really helped them practice the words and their meanings. By doing the review games and lessons I was allowing my students to have multiple encounters with the prefixes and suffixes to help them deposit the information into their long term memories. My students also showed growth in understanding word meanings when a prefix or suffix is added to a word. There was a 70% increase in knowledge of word meanings from the pretest to the posttest. Children who have knowledge of morphemes learn that these meaningful word parts are spelled similarly in different words where they appear (Reed, 2008). They struggled most with the addition of a suffix to a word. The two suffixes they seemed to have the hardest time using with root words were –ly and –able/-ible. The two suffixes have direct meanings and it is difficult to put into words what the words might mean. For example, compatible and horrible or deadly and proudly do not tend to follow direct meaning paths as do hopeful or careless. When looking at prefixes and suffixes that were not instructed the results were not as promising. There was very little increase, if any, of the knowledge of prefix and suffix meaning. This would show that students will eventually acquire some morphological awareness without direct instruction, but it will be a much slower acquisition than if direct instruction had occurred. Some of my students were able to make a connection with the suffixes –er and –ster but I never made the connection for them. Some were also able to make connections with the suffix –est due to instruction in grammar using adjectives that compare, but no direct instruction of –est as a suffix occurred.

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Prefix/Suffix

Student Knows Definition of Prefix/Suffix

Student Knows Definition of Prefix/Suffix

Pretest Results
antiexforecounterilpro-age -ess -est -ment -ster 0% 5% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 10% 20% 0% 10%

Posttest Results
0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 15% 25% 0% 25%

Morphological knowledge could provide children considerable leverage as they advance beyond beginning reading levels and encounter more complex text. Approximately 60% of new words acquired by school-age children are morphologically complex with clear internal structure, and as they progress through the elementary grades, children encounter an increasing number of words that are long, low-frequency, morphologically complex, and outside their oral vocabularies (Green et al., 2003). Teachers need to be convinced that it is valuable to teach their pupils explicit knowledge of the role of morphemes in reading and spelling. Increasing teachers’ explicit content knowledge is unlikely to be sufficient to change their practice. They need to be convinced that it is valuable to teach their pupils about morphology; they need to know how to do it, they need to have the resources to do it and they need to know that it is sanctioned by the educational frameworks within which they operate (J. Hurry et al., 2005).

21 A Way with Words What seems needed, then, is direct instruction in morphemic analysis (Reed, 2008). It would appear that the direct instruction helped my students increase their morphological awareness of prefixes and suffixes. Readers acquire knowledge about words and skill in reading words through experiences with written and oral uses of the words over time. With repeated encounters, features of written words become more completely represented in memory, and connections among these features are strengthened (Ehri, 1998; Perfetti, 1992). My 6-week direct instruction program of prefixes and suffixes netted several positive results due to repeated encounters with the morphological structures and helping students create connections with morphemic meanings.

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Appendices
Prefix Test
miscount I know this word: yes The prefix mis- means: This word means: no

preschool I know this word: yes The prefix pre- means: This word means: no

recharge I know this word: yes The prefix re- means: This word means: no

uncommon I know this word: yes The prefix un- means: This word means: no

dishonest I know this word: yes The prefix dis- means: This word means: no

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informal I know this word: yes The prefix in- means: This word means: no

nonfat I know this word: yes The prefix non- means: This word means: no

biweekly I know this word: yes The prefix bi- means: This word means: no

impure I know this word: yes The prefix im- means: This word means: no

antibody I know this word: yes no

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The prefix anti- means: This word means:

exit I know this word: yes The prefix ex- means: This word means: no

forecast I know this word: yes The prefix fore- means: This word means: no

counterfeit I know this word: yes The prefix im- means: This word means: no

illustration I know this word: yes The prefix il- means: This word means: no

professional I know this word: yes The prefix pro- means: no

25 A Way with Words
This word means:

mistreat I know this word: yes This word means: no

precook I know this word: yes This word means: no

refill I know this word: yes This word means: no

unkind I know this word: yes This word means: no

disregard I know this word: yes This word means: no

inactive I know this word: yes no

26 A Way with Words
This word means:

nonstick I know this word: yes This word means: no

bicycle I know this word: yes This word means: no

immature I know this word: yes This word means: no

impossible I know this word: yes This word means: no

prepackage I know this word: yes This word means: no

replese I know this word: yes no

27 A Way with Words
This word means:

nonskit I know this word: yes This word means: no

ungust I know this word: yes This word means: no

misriver I know this word: yes This word means: no

antilock I know this word: yes This word means: no

counterclockwise I know this word: yes This word means: no

experiment I know this word: yes This word means: no

28 A Way with Words
illiterate I know this word: yes This word means: no

Suffixes Test
deadly I know this word: yes The suffix –ly means: This word means: no

careless I know this word: yes The suffix –less means: This word means: no

teacher I know this word: yes The suffix –er means: This word means: no

hopeful I know this word: yes The suffix –ful means: no

29 A Way with Words
This word means:

horrible I know this word: yes The suffix –ible means: This word means: no

comfortable I know this word: yes The suffix –able means: This word means: no

director I know this word: yes The suffix –or means: This word means: no

bandage I know this word: yes The suffix -age means: This word means: no

princess I know this word: yes The suffix -cess means: This word means: no

30 A Way with Words

biggest I know this word: yes The suffix -est means: This word means: no

agreement I know this word: yes The suffix -ment means: This word means: no

gangster I know this word: yes The suffix -ster means: This word means: no

jokester I know this word: yes This word means: no

movement I know this word: yes This word means: no

longest I know this word: yes no

31 A Way with Words
This word means:

lioness I know this word: yes This word means: no

village I know this word: yes This word means: no

proudly I know this word: yes This word means: no

spotless I know this word: yes This word means: no

dancer I know this word: yes This word means: no

wonderful I know this word: yes no

32 A Way with Words
This word means:

legible I know this word: yes This word means: no

enjoyable I know this word: yes This word means: no

collector I know this word: yes This word means: no

vividly I know this word: yes This word means: no

sleeveless I know this word: yes This word means: no

reasonable I know this word: yes This word means: no

33 A Way with Words

compatible I know this word: yes This word means: no

wasteful I know this word: yes This word means: no

preacher I know this word: yes This word means: no

schickful I know this word: yes This word means: no

runkly I know this word: yes This word means: no

cleepless I know this word: yes This word means: no

34 A Way with Words
lesker I know this word: yes This word means: no

Pretest: Prefixes or Suffixes Receiving No Direct Instruction

35 A Way with Words

Prefix or Suffix
No Direct Instruction

Word antilock antibody exit experiment forecast counterfeit counterclockwise illustration illiterate professional professor bandage village princess lioness biggest longest agreement movement gangster jokester

Word Familiarity 10% 70% 100% 100% 85% 25% 90% 85% 35% 85% 85% 95% 90% 85% 65% 95% 100% 90% 95% 85% 90%

Prefix/Suffix Meaning 0% 0% 5% 5% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 10% 10% 20% 20% 0% 0% 10% 10%

Word Meaning 0% 10% 50% 15% 5% 0% 35% 25% 15% 0% 20% 25% 50% 20% 25% 50% 75% 5% 25% 15% 30%

antiexforecounterilpro-age -ess -est -ment -ster

Pretest: Made Up Words Using Prefixes and Suffixes Receiving Direct Instruction Prefix or Suffix Word Word Familiarity Prefix/Suffix Word Meaning Meaning -ful schickful 50% 50% 50% -ly runkly 50% 15% 10% -less cleepless 45% 15% 10% -er lesker 30% 15% 15% mismisriver 30% 25% 15% unungust 20% 25% 15% nonnonskit 35% 30% 25% rereplese 40% 60% 50%

Pretest: Prefixes and Suffixes Receiving Direct Instruction

36 A Way with Words Prefix or Suffix -ly Prefix or Suffix
No Direct Instruction

Word deadly Word proudly vividly antilock careless antibody spotless exit sleeveless experiment teacher forecast dancer counterfeit preacher counterclockwise hopeful illustration wonderful illiterate wasteful professional horrible professor legible bandage compatible village comfortable princess enjoyable lioness reasonable biggest director longest collector agreement miscount movement mistreat gangster preschool jokester precook prepackage recharge refill uncommon unkind dishonest disregard informal inactive nonfat nonstick biweekly bicycle impure immature impossible

Word Familiarity 65% Word Familiarity 65% 5% 40% 70% 50% 70% 75% 70% 85% 75% 75% 95% 30% 20% 80% 75% 70% 85% 35% 70% 75% 50% 80% 10% 80% 10% 60% 65% 85% 75% 25% 50% 90% 55% 100% 75% 75% 85% 70% 75% 70% 100% 80% 75% 40% 85% 95% 85% 90% 95% 30% 25% 65% 90% 75% 40% 90% 55% 80% 100%

anti-less ex-er forecounter-ful ilpro-ible -age -able -ess -est -or -ment mis-ster prereundisinnonbiim-

Prefix/Suffix Meaning 0% Prefix/Suffix 0% Meaning 0% 0% 10% 0% 10% 0% 10% 0% 10% 0% 10% 0% 10% 0% 45% 0% 45% 0% 45% 0% 10% 0% 10% 0% 10% 0% 20% 15% 20% 15% 20% 25% 30% 25% 30% 0% 40% 0% 40% 25% 50% 25% 50% 50% 65% 65% 65% 65% 75% 75% 30% 30% 65% 65% 10% 10% 40% 40% 40%

Word Meaning 0% Meaning Word 15% 0% 5% 40% 0% 50% 0% 65% 0% 50% 5% 60% 5% 10% 20% 70% 15% 60% 15% 35% 0% 0% 15% 0% 0% 0% 40% 15% 20% 30% 15% 40% 25% 30% 30% 45% 5% 60% 5% 65% 15% 40% 55% 35% 10% 55% 65% 55% 75% 85% 35% 25% 65% 85% 70% 10% 20% 40% 60% 90%

Posttest: Prefixes and Suffixes Receiving No Direct Instruction

37 A Way with Words

Posttest: Made Up Words Using Prefixes and Suffixes Receiving Direct Instruction Prefix or Suffix Word Word Familiarity Prefix/Suffix Word Meaning Meaning -ful schickful 30% 80% 40% -ly runkly 25% 30% 10% -less cleepless 25% 20% 25% -er lesker 30% 80% 25% mismisriver 30% 80% 15% unungust 20% 90% 15% nonnonskit 35% 100% 25% rereplese 40% 85% 50%

Posttest: Prefixes and Suffixes Receiving Direct Instruction Prefix or Suffix Word Word Familiarity Prefix/Suffix Meaning -ly deadly 80% 30% proudly 75% 30% vividly 30% 30% -less careless 100% 20% spotless 90% 20% sleeveless 100% 20% -er teacher 100% 80% dancer 95% 80% preacher 75% 80% -ful hopeful 95% 80% wonderful 90% 80% wasteful 75% 80% -ible horrible 85% 20% legible 25% 20% compatible 25% 20% -able comfortable 70% 30% enjoyable 75% 30% reasonable 65% 30% -or director 85% 70% collector 80% 70% mismiscount 100% 80% mistreat 100% 80% prepreschool 100% 65%

Word Meaning 25% 15% 10% 20% 20% 25% 85% 75% 40% 75% 60% 50% 5% 20% 5% 20% 30% 25% 50% 55% 80% 25% 60%

38 A Way with Words precook prepackage recharge refill uncommon unkind dishonest disregard informal inactive nonfat nonstick biweekly bicycle impure immature impossible 95% 80% 95% 100% 95% 100% 95% 75% 85% 80% 100% 95% 95% 100% 90% 80% 80% 65% 65% 95% 95% 90% 90% 95% 95% 80% 80% 100% 100% 70% 70% 85% 85% 85% 40% 60% 90% 95% 90% 80% 95% 40% 70% 70% 100% 100% 45% 70% 75% 85% 75%

reundisinnonbiim-

References
Graphic Organizers used during instruction came from www.FreeReading.net Anglin, J. (1993). Vocabulary development: a morphological analysis. Monographs of the Society of Research in Child Development, 58(10), 238th ser. Bertam, R., Laine, M., & Virkkala, M. M. (2000). The role of derivational morphology in vocabulary acquisition: get by with a little help from my morpheme friends. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 41, 287-296. Carlisle, J. F., & Katz, L. A. (2006). Effects or words and morpheme familiarity on reading of derived words. Reading and Writing, 19, 669-693. Carlisle, J. F., & Stone, C. A. (2005). Exploring the role of morphemes in word reading. Reading Research Quarterly, 40, 428-449. Ehri, L. (1986). Sources and difficulty in learning to spell and read. In L. Wolraich & D. Routh (Eds.), Advances in developmental and behavioural paediatrics (Vol. 7, pp. 121-195). Greensich, CT: JAI. Ehri, L. C. (1998). Grapheme-phoneme knowledge is essential for learning to read words in

39 A Way with Words English. In J. L. Metsala & L. C. Ehri (Authors), Word recognition in beginning literacy (pp. 3-40). Mahwah, N.J.: L. Erlbaum Associates. Freyd, P., & Baron, J. (1982). Individual differences in acquisition of derivational morphology. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 21, 282-295. Green L., McCutchen, D., Schwiebert, C., Quinlan, T., Eva-Wood, A., & Juelis, J. (2003). Morphological development in children's writing. Journal of Educational Psychology, 95(4), 752-761. doi: 10.1037/0022-0663.95.4.752 Hurry, J., Nunes, T., Bryant, P., Pretzlik, U., Parker, M., Curno, T., & Midgley, L. (2005). Transforming research on morphology into teacher practice. Research Papers in Education, 20(2), 187-206. Improving teaching and learning in schools: A commentary by the teaching and learning research programme [Pamphlet]. (2006). London, England: Institute of Education. Nagy, W. E., & Anderson, R. C. (1984). How many words are there in printed school English? Reading Research Quarterly, 19(3), 304-330. Nagy, W., Anderson, R. C., Schommer, M., Scott, J. A., & Stallman, A. C. (1989). Morphological families in the internal lexicon. Reading Research Quarterly, 24, 262-282. Nagy, W., Berninger, V., Abbott, R., Vaughan, K., & Vermeulen, K. (2003). Relationship of morphology and other language skills to literacy skills in at-risk second-grade readers and at-risk fourth-grade writers. Journal of Educational Psychology, 95(4), 730-742. doi: 10.1037/0022-0663.95.4.730 Perfetti, C. A. (1992). The representation problem in reading acquisition. In P. B. Gough, L. C. Ehri, & R. Treiman (Eds.), Reading acquisition (pp. 107-143). Hillsdale, N.J.: L. Erlbaum Associates.

40 A Way with Words Reed, D. K. (2008). A synthesis of morphology interventions and effects on reading outcomes for students in grades K-12. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 23(1), 36-49. Scott, J. A., & Nagy, W. E. (1997). Understanding the definitions of unfamiliar verbs. Reading Research Quarterly, 32(2), 184-200. Pearson, P. D., Hiebert, E. H., & Kamil, M. L. (2007). Vocabulary assessment: What we know and what we need to learn. Reading Research Quarterly, 42(2), 282-296. Robbins, C., & Ehri, L. (1994). Reading storybooks to kindergarteners helps them learn new vocabulary words. Journal of Educational Psychology, 86(1), 54-64. Shell, Duane F., David W. Brooks, Guy Trainin, Kathleen M. Wilson, Douglas F. Kauffman, and Lynne McKnight Herr. The Unified Learning Model: How Motivational, Cognitive, and Neurobiological Sciences Inform Best Teaching Practices. Dordrecht: Springer, In Print. Templeton, S. (2008, May 21). Systematic and sustained instruction in word formation processes, grades 4-6. Lecture presented at National Reading Council. Templeton, S., Moloney, K., Smith, D., & Ives, B. (2007). Morphological knowledge in a developmental model of word knowledge. Lecture presented at National Reading Council. Retrieved from www.unr.edu/cll/presentation.htm White, T. G., Power, M. A., & White, S. (1989). Morphological analysis: implications for teaching and understanding. Reading Research Quarterly, 24, 283-394. Winters, R. (2009). Interactive frames for vocabulary growth and word consciousness. The Reading Teacher, 62(8), 685-690. doi: 10.1598/RT.62.8.6

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