Lesson plan

Prefixes in Texts

It is not only important for students to recognize words with prefixes, but also be able to choose the right prefix for the base word. In this lesson, students will work in groups to come up with as many words as possible with particular prefixes.
Grade Subject View aligned standards

Students will be able to choose the prefix that works with specific words in texts.

(2 minutes)
  • Show students the words 'rehappy, redo, unable, unconnect, disusual, disassemble' on the board.
  • Ask students what these words have in common (they all have a prefix attached at the beginning). Ask students which words sound right and which do not.
  • Confirm students responses and emphasize that these words and nonwords show the importance of knowing which prefix to place in front of certain words.
(8 minutes)
  • Tell students that a prefix is a group of letters that is attached to the beginning of a root word or base word, to create a new word with a different meaning. A prefix has its own meaning too, for example, re- means again. Therefore, the word 'redo' means to do again.
  • Inform students that it is important to know which prefix works with each root word so that we do not write incorrect words. Tell them that the only way to know this is to familiarize themselves with most words that have prefixes.
  • Read aloud a book on prefixes, pausing to identify the words with prefixes.
  • Tell students to remember some of the prefix words they heard in the story or others they may know, and create a list on chart paper. Some common prefixes include 're-, dis-, un-, micro-, in-, over-, im-, pre-'.
  • As you write examples, be sure to contrast them with some nonexamples too (i.e. silly words that do not make sense).
(15 minutes)
  • Place 5 pieces of chart paper in different locations in the classroom, each one with a prefix at the top (re-, dis-, un-, de-, semi-).
  • Divide the students into five groups and give each group a different color marker.
  • Instruct each group to spend one minute writing down as many words with the prefix on the chart paper before you rotate so that each group has a chance to think of words with each prefix.
  • Remind students to work as a team to agree on which words are correct.
  • Review the words students write to check for errors.
  • Display the Prefixes: Get it Started! worksheet on the document camera, and distribute a copy to each student.
  • Guide them through the first 3 examples.
  • Tell students to work with a partner on the rest of the problems.
  • Encourage students to reflect on which prefix makes the most sense in the context of the word and sentence.
(10 minutes)
  • Hand out the Prefix Mix-Up worksheet to students.
  • Go over the example and the table at the top of the worksheet, and read the directions aloud.
  • Instruct them to complete the worksheet independently.
  • Circulate and assist students as needed.

Support: what to change

  • In a small group, teach just a few of the common prefixes until they have a strong grasp on them before continuing to learn other prefixes.

Enrichment: what to change

  • Have students complete an activity with highlighters and a copied section of a book they are reading (see additional resources).
  • Advanced students can create a crossword puzzle with words that contain prefixes for their peers to solve.
(3 minutes)
  • Write the following words on the board: disreal, unreal, unbelievable, imbelievable.
  • Read each one aloud, and ask students to show you a thumbs up if it is a working combination of prefix and root word, and a thumbs down if it is an incorrect match.
  • Observe students' responses to gauge their levels of understanding.
(2 minutes)
  • Ask students to turn to partner and complete the sentence stem, "A prefix is __ and some examples are__."

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