beginning reading writing teks talk image

Knowledge and Skills Statement

Developing and sustaining foundational language skills: listening, speaking, reading, writing, and thinking--beginning reading and writing. The student develops word structure knowledge through phonological awareness, print concepts, phonics, and morphology to communicate, decode, and spell.

Have students complete a graphic organizer with three columns: PrefixRoot Word, and New Word. Then have students read a prefix and explain what it means (e.g., un- means not, dis- means not, re- means again). Students should add the word and meaning to the prefix column of the graphic organizer. Repeat the same for a root word (e.g., done means something is finished). Last, as students read the newly created word and explain what it means (e.g., undone means something not finished), they write the new word and meaning in the new word column. Using a grade-appropriate text, task students with finding more words to add to the graphic organizer. Students will then share the additional words and meanings with the class.

Further Explanation

This assessment requires students to have phonetic knowledge of and experience with dividing words with prefixes into word parts (prefix + base word) in order to correctly spell words with prefixes. This knowledge is acquired through practice and experience with decoding and spelling a variety of words with prefixes.

Both decoding and encoding skills are needed to build a foundation in reading. Decoding is sounding words out according to letter-sound relationship conventions. Encoding is the process of using letter-sound knowledge to write or spell words. Students must understand the various spelling patterns and rules of the English language to correctly construct words in their written products. It is important that students apply or demonstrate these rules consistently instead of using invented spelling because they may unknowingly write a real word that they did not intend, causing confusion for their reader.
Students must accurately spell words with common prefixes. Students should understand that prefixes, such as re-, trans-, inter-, sub-, ob-, and ad-, are added before a root or base word to generally show relations in space and time. Prefixes can also negate and reverse, such as dis-, un-, non-, and anti-. Sometimes prefixes can intensify the meaning of the root, such as con- and re-.


1. Herrington, M. H., & Macken-Horarik, M. (2015). Linguistically informed teaching of spelling: Toward a relationship approach. The Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, 38(2). Retrieved from

Summary: This study examines teachers' knowledge of morphemes and phonemes, and how building greater awareness of word components (a toolkit for teachers) can increase the success of spelling instruction. The authors note that not only teaching children to look closely at the parts of words, but for teachers to look closely and analyze children's morphemic spelling approximations can reveal children's thinking and, thus, lead to targeted instruction.

2. Kieffer, M. J., & Lesaux, N. K. (2007). Breaking down words to build meaning: morphology, vocabulary, and reading comprehension in the urban classroom: when it comes to teaching vocabulary, a little knowledge (of root words, prefixes, and suffixes) goes a long way. The Reading Teacher, 61(2), 134+. Retrieved from

Summary: This research focuses on the need for a strong vocabulary by fourth grade and the "fourth grade slump," the article looks at effective "word-attack" strategies. The authors break down morphology, explain why it matters, and state that understanding word structures, such as root words, prefixes, and suffixes, provide students with a powerful tool for decoding unfamiliar words. The authors identify four steps in the process of breaking a word down into morphemes and encourage teachers to model those steps. They also provide examples of how teachers can teach prefixes and suffixes.