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). 

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.

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.