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

By Susan M. Ebbers Last updated 2024/05/27
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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.

Curriculum Connection

1. Curriculum Context
Morphological knowledge and vocabulary are crucial in achieving Overall Expectation B2 in the Ontario Language Curriculum across various grades. As students progress, their understanding of morphemes, including bases, prefixes, and suffixes, empowers them to develop a rich vocabulary and read and spell words accurately and automatically. The article emphasizes the importance of teaching vocabulary through morphology, which involves studying word parts such as prefixes, suffixes, and roots to convey meaning and facilitate vocabulary growth. Educators can use this resource to gain valuable insights into the significance of morphological instruction and access practical strategies for effective teaching. By prioritizing morphological awareness and vocabulary development, educators can strengthen students' language foundations for reading and writing, allowing them to excel in different contexts.
Grade(s): K 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Topic(s): Applying MorphologyApplying OrthographyApplying PhonicsVocabularyWord-Level Reading and Spelling


  1. Today I came back to this article with the lens of using morphology through the reading/writing connection. Though this article is not explicitly about this, it did not disappoint. Remembering that Language development supports both reading and writing, this component is deeply connected with spelling and word study, vocabulary – and also for constructing sentences. The skills associated with morphology naturally support both expressive and receptive aspects of literacy.

  2. I deeply appreciated reading about vocabulary instruction via morphology. Great ideas including Morphological word families with high-frequency base words and affixes that can start in Kindergarten according to curriculum – play, played, playing, playdate
    Great implications for metalinguistic awareness that also deepens comprehension.

    Introducing high-frequency

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