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Spotlight on Vocabulary Level 2 Roots, Prefixes and Suffixes
Ages: 9-13   Grades: 4-8

Understand how prefixes and suffixes impact the meaning of the root word and make gains in oral and written language and reading comprehension.  


  • Use root words, prefixes, and suffixes to construct words
  • Increase flexibility in vocabulary
  • Use specific strategies to understand word meanings
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Written in the proven format of the Spotlight series, the book has:

  • age-appropriate, curricular vocabulary
  • gradual progression in difficulty to build student success
  • light demands for spelling and writing
  • a pretest/posttest

One-page lessons in a variety of interesting formats, teach students:     

  • the function of a root or base word
  • to identify a root word within a larger word
  • to identify and understand the function of prefixes and suffixes
  • to use root words, prefixes, and suffixes to construct words

You may purchase Spotlight on Vocabulary Level 2 Roots, Prefixes and Suffixes individually or as part of the 6-book Spotlight on Vocabulary Level 2 set.  The 6-book set consists of:

Spotlight on Vocabulary Level 2 Antonyms

Spotlight on Vocabulary Level 2 Associations

Spotlight on Vocabulary Level 2 Multiple-Meaning Words

Spotlight on Vocabulary Level 2 Roots, Prefixes and Suffixes

Spotlight on Vocabulary Level 2 Synonyms

Spotlight on Vocabulary Level 2 Word Origins


Copyright © 2005

40 pages, pretest/posttest, answer key
  • Successful reading comprehension is highly correlated with vocabulary development (Pressley, 2000).
  • "The importance of vocabulary in reading achievement has been recognized for more than half a century."  (National Reading Panel, 2000).
  • A systematic approach to teaching vocabulary, including direct and indirect instruction, teaches students that vocabulary is important for learning language and for reading (Beck, McKeown, & Kucan, 2002).
  • Vocabulary instruction is a cornerstone of reading comprehension.  Repeated exposures to words expands students' vocabulary and improves scores on standardized tests (Stahl & Fairbanks, 1986).

Spotlight on Vocabulary Level 2 Roots, Prefixes and Suffixes incorporates these principles and is also based on expert professional practice.


Beck, I.L., McKeown, M.G., & Kucan, L. (2002). Bringing words to life: Robust vocabulary instruction. Solving problems in the teaching of literacy. New York: Guilford Press.

National Reading Panel. (2000). Teaching children to read: An evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implications for reading instruction. Washington, D.C.: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Pressley, M.L. (2000). What should comprehension instruction be the instruction of? In M.L. Kamil, P.B. Mosenthal, P.D. Pearson, & R. Barr (Eds.), Handbook of Reading Research (Vol. III). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Stahl, S.A., & Fairbanks, M.M. (1986). The effects of vocabulary instruction: A model-based meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 56, 71-110.


Carolyn LoGiudice, Kate LaQuay


Carolyn LoGiudice, M.S., CCC-SLP, was a speech-language clinician in school, clinic, and private settings before joining LinguiSystems in 1984.  She has co-authored many materials with LinguiSystems, including The WORD Test, No-Glamour Vocabulary Cards, The Test of Semantic Skills (TOSS-P and TOSS-I), and the All-Star Vocabulary game.

Kate LaQuay, J.D., became part of LinguiSystems' extended family more than 20 years ago when her mother, Carolyn LoGiudice, joined the company.  Now a mother herself, Kate has co-authored several LinguiSystems products, including U.S. History A Reading Comprehension Book, U.S. Government A Reading Comprehension Game, and Spotlight on Vocabulary Levels 1 and 2.  Previously, she practiced law for six years in Los Angeles.


All students need to expand their working vocabularies.  Some students have a natural facility for language and semantic relationships, enabling them to enlarge their vocabulary almost effortlessly.  Simply reading, listening, and talking seem to boost these students' vocabulary skills.

Many other students need to exert conscious energy to understand and recall an increasingly diverse vocabulary.  Some of them are poor or reluctant readers.  Other students have limited exposure to a rich variety of spoken English.  Still others have language-learning disabilities, attention disorders, or ineffective systems for storing and retrieving vocabulary.  All of these students can benefit from specific vocabulary exposure and instruction.  They can improve their vocabulary skills through conscious attention and guided learning.

The main goal of Spotlight on Vocabulary books is to help students recognize and use specific strategies to enrich their skills for understanding and using an increasingly rich vocabulary.  Roots, Prefixes and Suffixes teaches students that many words are made up of smaller parts that have meaning and thus impact the total word.  These are the student objectives of this book:

  • to understand the function of a root or base word
  • to identify a root word within a larger word
  • to identify and understand the function of prefixes and suffixes
  • to use root words, prefixes, and suffixes to construct words

In this book, root word refers to the base or fundamental part of a word, such as dance in the word dancing or nation in the word national.  The root of a word carries most of its meaning, but affixes can change root words into their opposites, change their intensity and sometimes make an entirely different word.  This book demonstrates the power of affixes.

Some root words undergo spelling changes as certain prefixes or suffixes are added; other root words simply add prefixes or suffixes with no spelling changes.  The activities in this book are sequenced by general complexity, and spelling changes are not specifically introduced until students begin the suffix section.

Here are some guidelines for doing the activities in this book with your students:

  • Have your students take the Pretest/Posttest before they begin doing the activities in this book.  When they have completed the book, have them retake the test and compare the results to their original scores.
  • Teach your students to look for root (smaller) words within unfamiliar words.  What is the smallest word within the word that makes a real word by itself?  (An awareness of spelling changes with affixes comes in handy here.)
  • Caution your students that affixes and root words do not always help us figure out what a word means, especially because word meanings change over time and as they become part of other languages.  A dictionary is essential for determining and/or verifying definitions.  Keep a student-friendly dictionary handy and encourage your students to consult it at any time while they're doing the activities.
  • Before presenting a worksheet, write some words featuring the target affix on the board or an overhead.  Ask your students to discover the common affix and to guess what it means.  Then present the worksheet.
  • Make a set of flash cards for prefixes and one for suffixes.  List a suffix or prefix on one side and the meaning on the other.  Have a small group of students take turns looking at a card and guessing the information on the back of a card.
  • Make a list of affixes and root words (avoid ones with spelling changes unless your students can handle them).  Write each root and affix on a separate card.  Give one card to each student.  Ask the students to build as many words as they can by linking with another student.  Then as a group, list all the combinations discovered in this activity.
  • Feature a root word or an affix for a week.  Put a large sheet of paper on a bulletin board and have your students list as many words as they can that include the target.
  • Encourage your students to be creative in making novel words that use affixes appropriately.  A great way to start this concept is to have small groups of students brainstorm a fun name for a new product.  Have each group design an ad for its product and present it to the class.

We hope Spotlight on Vocabulary Level 2 Roots, Prefixes and Suffixes is a big hit with you and your students!

Carolyn and Kate