Big picture language skills like ‘reading comprehension’ or ‘vocabulary’ are huge skills that are comprised of many smaller skill areas. Students with language disorders benefit from explicit instruction in these areas and affixes are one functional way to make vocabulary instruction explicit and direct.
In addition, morphological awareness skills are related to, and often predict, future literacy skills.
This is one of the biggest reasons why affixes are a favorite way for me to address language skills, especially in the school setting where you are seeing a lot of your kids in groups. You can target a really wide variety of root causes or weak language areas using one thing: affixes.
If you think about our language system and the core skills involved in it: phonology, semantics, and syntax…. you can see that morphology overlaps in all 3 areas. Affixes are an important clue to how words are pronounced (the phonology of the word), what a word means (semantics/vocabulary), AND how the word can be used in a sentence (syntax).
An SLPs job in the schools for many students is choosing academic language targets and providing language intervention contextualized within the curriculum. Because of this, I’m always trying to make that connection between what I’m working on with students in therapy and the relevance to their classroom work.
Affixes are relevant and found in all texts across all subject areas! Because they overlap all of our core language areas: semantics, syntax, and phonology – they’re a perfect target for many of our students with language disorders.
Listen to the podcast below to learn more, and then check out some of the other resources linked below:
Click here to listen to a continuing education podcast interview all about morphology! All of the content on this page is from this interview. I go over what morphology is and share a ton of ideas for incorporating it into your therapy!
#1 – Explicitly teaching affixes is research supported for improving reading comprehension and word learning.
#2 – Affixes are functional, everywhere, and easier to target than you might think. You can teach related affixes along with units, themes, and activities you’re already doing!
#3 – Remember that very small number of affixes make up 97% of affixes found in printed text in English.
Favorite Affix Resources:
1 – My Prefix and Suffix Activities resource is my top recommendation! It makes targeting affixes at a variety of language levels incredibly easy!
2 – I also love WordDetective.com – it’s a totally free resource from Vanderbilt that includes a lot of morphology materials.
Hope all of this morphology information is helpful!
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Thanks for reading!