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!
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 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 nine short months – fill these bubbles? (DRUM ROLL 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 word 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 word roots! Their knowledge of roots provided another avenue of understanding the concept of fractions.
The more we have learned about roots, we have discovered roots are EVERYWHERE! Take a trip to the store through the eyes of roots! Duracell® batteries – dur = long-lasting! Beneful® dog food – bene = good. You will look at words through a whole new light, and so will your students!
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