Krista and Julie from Reading Olympians have some wonderful information to share about why it is so important to teach word roots and how to do it.
Hi Everyone! This is
Julie and Krista from Reading Olympians and we are incredibly honored to be
guest bloggers for Rachel!
us on an interesting and exciting journey—we are VERY excited to share it with
you! Teaching Greek and Latin roots and stems has become a passion (some may
say an obsession) in our classroom and even our everyday life. It is our hope we can give insight into the
world of root instruction as well elevate some stress about how to approach
roots since it is now in the Common Core Standards of Instruction K-8.
Here’s how our journey began…
stumbled upon the concept of teaching roots when we decided to give up our “frequently used
words” word wall for a “root wall.” This
was the best decision we EVER made! We
could tell from literally the first root we taught we were on to something that
was going to have a lifelong effect on our students’ vocabulary
development. Nothing in our combined
careers has had such an instant impact on their vocabulary development and in
turn their overall reading performance. Roots
have changed the face of reading for our struggling readers, and deepened the
reading experience for our stronger readers.
We all know our students are entering school-no matter the
grade level-with lower language skills.
Where once children read and shared time with parents learning nursery
rhymes and listening to bedtime stories, many are now playing video games. This shift has had a dramatic effect on their
language skills and in turn they enter school with decreased vocabulary
skills. Again, as we know, this lack of
vocabulary throws a huge wrench in the reading machine—CRASH-there goes
comprehension and fluency! Without that
prior knowledge, without those words, they have nothing in which to draw upon
to give text a deeper meaning. We think
of this prior knowledge as little bubbles filling their brains.
This child’s little bubbles are not full of wonderful words. As a result, when this child comes upon an unknown word, she is stuck. She doesn’t have the arsenal of filled bubbles on which to draw. Now, because she lacks that prior knowledge, the wrench has been tossed in her reading process. How do we solve this? How can a teacher –in 9 short months—fill these bubbles? (DRUMROLL PLEASE…..) Teach roots!!! One tiny root can open the door to hundreds of words.
Here’s one of our favorite roots: mot = move
As we began to implement root instruction we experienced daily “ah-ha” moments in all content areas. Math- Julie introduced her fraction unit to her students and was met with “Hey! Fract means to break and tion means process or action!” WOW!!! This was a math lesson and there popped those roots!! Their knowledge of roots provided another avenue of understanding the concept of fractions.
more we have learned about roots we have discovered roots are EVERYWHERE!!! Take a trip to the store through the eyes of roots! Dur-A-Cell Batteries—dur=long lasting! Beneful Dog Food–bene=good. You will look at words through a whole new light, and so will your students!
obsession led us to create an organized method of teaching roots. We have developed Reading Olympians—our root
instruction program. We did not develop it
with any thought of selling it. We
implemented Reading O in our classrooms and as we shared it with others, we
started to see the potential of sharing the program with teachers through Teachers Pay
Teachers. We have grown from that
first program and have branched into three additional programs with more on the
way. Ultimately, Reading Olympians will
be a vertically aligned series K-8 meeting the requirements of the Common