Prefixes and Suffixes

What You Need:

  • One of your child’s favorite books
  • Scanner and printer
  • Highlighters (in 2 different colors)
  • Pencil

What You Do:

  1. Photocopy a page or two of text from one of your child’s favorite books. You might want to pick a scene with a lot of action. Make one copy for your child and one for yourself.
  2. Challenge your child to go through and highlight the suffixes. Remind her that suffixes are added onto a root word to change the word’s meaning. Many suffixes are easy to recognize because they change the verb tense (-ed), the number of something (-s or -es), or the degree (-er, -est).  
  3. Once they have found as many suffixes as she can, go over the passage with her. Show them some of the tricky ones like –ancy, -ism, or –ous.  
  4. If they found something you missed, give a point and vice versa. Write points on the corner of the page.
  5. Trade highlighters and have them go through the passage and mark the prefixes. Remind them that prefixes are placed in front of root words to change the word’s meaning. In general, prefixes are trickier to spot, but they will likely recognize some of them such as anti-, re-, or un-.
  6. When they have found as many as possible, go through the text with them and show them what else you found, such as agri-, geo-, or tele-.  
  7. If they found something you missed, give a point and vice versa. Write points on the corner of the page.
  8. Once spotting the prefixes and suffixes is easy, take this activity to the next level. Have your child replace prefixes and suffixes in as many words as possible. What happens to the story when the replacements mean the same thing or close to the same thing?  What happens when they mean the opposite? 

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