Morphological Awareness and Second Language Learners

In this International Dyslexia Association Perspectives article, Gloria Ramírez discusses the significance of morphological awareness in second language learners’ vocabulary learning and reading comprehension, providing valuable insights for educators. The article emphasizes that explicit and systematic instruction on morphological awareness can greatly benefit language learners, especially those facing reading difficulties. Educators can use the principles presented in the article to effectively teach students to identify smaller meaning units in complex words, enhancing their word reading accuracy, fluency, and comprehension. Additionally, the article highlights the transferability of morphological awareness skills from the learners’ first to their second language, enabling educators to capitalize on their existing language skills to improve their vocabulary and reading comprehension in the target language. Educators can better support second language learners developing strong language and literacy skills by incorporating these principles into their instruction.

Morphological Awareness Strategies for the General and Special Education Classroom: A Vehicle for Vocabulary Enhancement

In this article from the International Dyslexia Association Perspectives, Susan M. Ebbers discusses the significance of teaching vocabulary through morphology and presents practical strategies for instruction. The focus is on morphemes, including prefixes, suffixes, and roots, which are vital in conveying meaning and facilitating vocabulary growth. The author emphasizes the need for explicit instruction in morphology to foster students’ morphological awareness, a metalinguistic insight that aids in understanding word structure and meanings. Ebbers suggests introducing morphemic analysis gradually, starting with familiar affixes and base words. Incorporating context clues and multisensory activities can reinforce morphological knowledge. By nurturing morphological awareness, students can enhance their vocabulary and comprehension skills, improving their reading, writing, and communication abilities.

Beneath the Surface of Words: What English Spelling Reveals and Why It Matters

In Beneath the Surface of Words, author Sue Scibetta Hegland aims to convince readers that English spelling isn’t as unreliable or quirky as they may have believed…and argues an excellent case. For example:there’s actually a reason for the L in talk! Written in an engaging voice, this is an excellent title for building educator knowledge to support instruction in spelling, particularly related to morphology and etymology, with connections to vocabulary as well. Helpful appendices, for example “Applying Suffixing Conventions” and “Working With Word Sums and Evidence Banks” are also included. Reading Beneath the Surface of Words is like taking a crash course in the complexities and rationale of the English writing system and is recommended for all literacy educators.

English Decoded: Layers of the English Language

This quick, 2 minute video gives a brief overview of the 3 main layers of the English Language: Anglo-Saxon, Latin, and Greek.  A nice simple video to show students to help them understand that although English is complex, it makes sense, if you understand how they are put together (morphology). 

Advanced Word Study

This resource is designed for teachers and students with limited experience with advanced phonics instruction. It provides an accelerated scope and sequence of syllable types and common prefixes, suffixes, and root words. The lessons include detailed descriptions, visual examples, and practice pages.

Evidence Challenges Teaching Words “By Sight”

Moats discusses the lack of evidence behind “whole language” approaches to spelling programs. She highlights the ineffectiveness of teaching “sight words,” where students are expected to learn words purely by visual recognition. She argues that these practices do not align with our understanding of language learning and the cognitive processes involved in word learning. The article promotes a multi-linguistic approach to teaching and learning, emphasizing phoneme-grapheme correspondences, morphology, etymology, and other language aspects.
Moats suggests instructional strategies to teach high-frequency words effectively, including grouping words by spelling patterns, associating spelling with meaning, and practicing words in meaningful contexts. The article emphasizes that most high-frequency words need not be learned “by sight” but can be taught through structured literacy principles that consider the language’s phonological, morphological, and orthographic aspects.

Morphology Matters: Building Vocabulary Through Word Parts

Wondering where to start with morphology and how it can tie in with your explicit vocabulary instruction? This 36-page resource is full of lesson ideas and activities that you use with your students. This resource provides some essential background knowledge of morphology for all educators and then provides several lesson frameworks that you can use with your students, using the new Ontario Curriculum.  It provides a suggested scope and sequence as well as word lists, but remember that the scope and sequence for morpheme introduction for the new curriculum is found on page 6 of Appendix A (Word-Level Reading and Spelling: Applying Phonics, Orthographic, and Morphological Knowledge).  Once the introductory morpheme sequence from the curriculum has been consolidated, the word and morpheme lists  found in this resource you can use to expand students’ morphological understanding beyond Grade 4 and across many subject areas.

Spelling in a Complex Orthography: Can knowing better really help do better?

In this video from PaTTAN Literacy, Lyn Stone shows, through practical demonstration, the benefits of systematically teaching the orthographic patterns of written English.  Drawing on principals of cognitive load theory, linguistic analysis and her vast experience in varied educational settings, Lyn offers suggestions for implementing high quality spelling lessons into everyday classroom instruction. 

Etymonline: Online Etymological Dictionary

Etymonline is a free online etymology dictionary that provides information about the origins and historical development of words in English.  It offers detailed explanations of word origins, meanings, and changes over time, often tracing words back to their earliest recorded usage. This resource can help educators and students understand how words have evolved and diversified throughout history, as well as help understand the orthography and morphology of words.