How to Teach Prefixes

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For Production (Spoken or Written)

  1. Collect a writing sample or spoken language sample and check off which common prefixes the child uses spontaneously and correctly (
  2. Choose one prefix to target from the list of common prefixes that the child isn’t using.
  3. Teach the meaning of the prefix and then give several examples of words that use the prefix.
  4. Have the students create sentences with various words that contain the target prefix.
  5. Have the students define words that contain the prefix.
  6. Give the child a list of words with the prefix and have him/her write or speak a paragraph that includes all of them.
  7. Move on to a new prefix

For Decoding (Reading or Listening)

  1. Ask the child to read/define a list of words that contain common prefixes.  Mark off which ones the child doesn’t understand.
  2. Choose one prefix to target at a time
  3. Teach the child what the prefix means and how to break a word apart into the prefix and the root word
  4. Practice dissecting words with the child that contain the prefix and breaking them apart into the prefix and the root to determine the meaning of the word
  5. Once the child gets the hang of it, have the child read sentences that contain the prefix and then answer questions about the sentences that will ensure the child understood the correct meaning of the word (Example: “Holly untied her shoes”, Question: “What did Holly’s shoe laces look like when she finished?”)
  6. Slowly add in more prefixes as the child gets more comfortable with that one.