Morphology Goal Ideas
- NAME will identify a prefix or suffix in 9 out of 10 given words across 3 sessions.
- Given example words from her curriculum, NAME will state the meaning of 15 different prefixes or suffixes given no adult support across 2 data collection opportunities.
- NAME will use a familiar affix as a clue to the meaning of a word by defining the affix and stating how it contributes to the word’s meaning in 2 out of 3 opportunities across 2 sessions.
- Given 3 words that have the same root and different affixes, NAME will separate the words according to their morphology (e.g., pre-teach, teach-ing, teach-er) and explain the meaning of the words in 8 out of 10 opportunities across 3 sessions.
- NAME will use morphological awareness strategies (e.g., identification of prefixes, suffixes and root words) to define vocabulary words from short texts in 4 out of 5 opportunities.
- NAME will write a grammatically correct sentence using a given word that contains an affix in 2 out of 3 opportunities across 2 sessions.
- NAME will use morphological analysis to identify the meaning of 4 out of 5 given words given a familiar visual.
- NAME will use affixes to change a given word’s part of speech (e.g., teach to teacher, replace to replacement) and explain how the word’s meaning changed in 70% of opportunities across 3 sessions.
Read more about my goals here.
Teaching Affixes in Speech Therapy
Like I mentioned above, while morphology targets both vocabulary and syntax, for the purposes of organizing language skills, I consider morphology/affixes to fall within the vocabulary, or word level, category.
However, as I will discuss below, some of the most important teaching around affixes includes how they can change a word’s part of speech. This absolutely taps into syntactic knowledge as well so, in truth, this skill could be put in both the word/vocabulary skill section AND the sentence/syntax skill section.
Understanding affixes significantly contributes to vocabulary development, reading comprehension, and other literacy skills (including spelling).
Students with strong morphological awareness skills can use their knowledge to read and understand unknown or less familiar words. In fact, students with language and literacy difficulties (including ELL students) can use morphological knowledge as a compensatory strategy to support their relatively weak comprehension skills.
Children with language disorders don’t struggle with all morphemes equally. Some morphemes, like -ing and plural -s, are typically not difficult to learn and understand. Others, particularly those that reflect tense and agreement (like third person singular -s and past tense -ed), are more difficult for students with language disorders (Kamhi, 2014).
For most children, affix familiarity and knowledge increases during the early elementary years (before 3rd grade). However, morphological awareness skills continue to develop through middle school, especially with more difficult affixes (including suffixes that change a word’s part of speech).
The four most common prefixes (dis-, in-, re-, and un-) and suffixes (-ed, -ing, -ly, and –es) make up 97% of words containing affixes! These affixes are a great place to start for most learners.
We can build knowledge of morphology and affixes through morphological awareness activities. The top 2 types of activities I do when working on morphology or affixes are:
1 – Word Building
Practice building and using words with given prefixes and suffixes, one at a time. Manipulate morphemes and base words in a variety of different ways. Discuss what each affix means and how it can change the meaning of different words. Compare words that share the targeted affix (straighten, tighten, wooden). Practice saying these words out loud and writing them to build familiarity and in-depth affix knowledge.
2 – Word Study
Break apart and study words that contains one or more affixes like impossible, outsmart, invention, or enjoyment. Discuss both semantic morphological information (how the affixes give us information about the meaning of the word) AND syntactic morphological information (how the affixes affect the word’s part of speech).
Want to learn even more about morphology? Listen to my hour long professional development podcast interview on This Speech Life all about morphology and affixes! Click here to check it out.
Morphology and Affixes in Context
Teaching affixes can be even more impactful when targeted in context.
In fact, research has shown that targeting morphological structures using storybooks can be an effective way to work on language skills while increasing exposure to literacy-based materials at the same time (Maul, C. A., & Ambler, K. L., 2014).
I love teaching related affixes alongside my themed units and picture books. Below are some examples of affixes I target in some of my themed units:
🚀 Searching for Home Story Unit, pictured above: -y (stormy, snowy, rocky, rainy)
🍳 Cooking: over-, -ful
🪐 Outer Space: ast-, trans-
🌋 Volcano: ex-, -ion
⛈ Weather: -y, fore-
🚧 Construction: con-, -ion
You can do the same with picture books, texts, or other activities you’re already doing in therapy (including games!).
Want an easy button way to implement this information? I include affix activities in all of my themed units and story units!Shop Story Units Shop Themed Units