Activities to Teach Students to Identify Base Words, Prefixes, and Suffixes

As students progress through their education, there are increasingly complex conventions of language that they must learn in order to understand text, expand their vocabulary, and express themselves effectively. One of these conventions is the use of base words, prefixes, and suffixes, which can help students break down unfamiliar words and deduce their meaning. Teaching students to identify these building blocks can greatly aid in their literacy development. Here are some activities that can help students learn to identify base words, prefixes, and suffixes.

1. Word Sorts

Word sorts are a fun and interactive way to help students identify base words, prefixes, and suffixes. To begin, provide a list of words to your students that contain both prefixes, suffixes, and base words. Students then organize the words into three categories: prefix, suffix, or base word. You can also provide a set of cards with the components clearly labeled, and students can sort them into the appropriate categories.

2. Word Building

Word building activities allow students to practice identifying and combining base words, prefixes, and suffixes to create new words. Provide your students with word components and ask them to create new words by combining them. For example, provide the base word “jump” along with the prefix “pre-” and the suffix “-ing”. Students can then create the word “pre-jumping”.

3. Sticky Note Game

The sticky note game is a quick and engaging way to review prefixes and suffixes with your students. Begin by writing a variety of base words on the board or a piece of paper. Then, have each student pick a sticky note with either a prefix or suffix written on it. They must then choose a base word and place the sticky note next to it to create a new word. Encourage students to be creative and playful with their word choices.

4. Online Games

There are also numerous online games that can help students practice identifying base words, prefixes, and suffixes. Websites such as Quizlet,, and Kahoot offer interactive and fun games that can support a student’s literacy development.

5. Vocabulary Journal

Another valuable activity to teach students to identify base words, prefixes, and suffixes is to have them create their vocabulary journals. Each student would have a notebook where can write base words, prefixes, and suffixes with their definitions. Students can also add sentences that contain these words to get the context meaning and how it could be used in a sentence. This could be a beneficial tool for future writing assignments.

Identifying base words, prefixes, and suffixes is a critical skill for students to acquire as they become avid readers and proficient writers. The above activities are effective ways of making this process more engaging and enjoyable. There are many ways to teach these language conventions, but these activities ensure students have fun while learning and can be a valuable reference for future use.

Choose your Reaction!