Why Morphemes?

Can 4th graders infer meaning from context clues and morpheme clues?


Self-regulation of vocabulary acquisition includes linking learning process goals and encouraging self-recording of individual progress (Zimmerman 2008; Zimmerman & Kitsantas, 1999).  The CCSS for K-5 invites students to confront challenging words or phases by making several attempts to arrive at a viable approximation of the meaning, rather than skipping over them or making one attempt and moving on (Caulkins, Ehrenworth, & Lehman, 2012). It is suggested that texts with spiraling like content in increasing complexity can be an effective means for both students and teachers to become engaged in constantly building a transferable vocabulary.

No Skipping! Infer Meaning From Context Clues and Morpheme Clues

Words Have Parts!

A working knowledge of academic language is foundational for learning concepts and processes taught at the middle and high school level. Without a working knowledge of an academic vocabulary, readers and writers most likely will struggle in classes across the curriculum.

  • Teachers cannot possibly teach all of the words students need to know directly, however, providing students with tools and strategies for learning words on their own, one such strategy being morphology (Kieffer & Lesaux, 2010).
  • Students from grades 1-6 have evidenced success in word reading and reading comprehension through training in some aspects of morphology (Bowers, Kirby, & Deacon (2010)
  • Morphology provides a key to developing both word knowledge and high quality mental representations and that knowledge and contributes to word reading and to reading comprehension (Nagy, Berninger, & Abbot, 2006; Nunes & Bryant, 2006).

VTRIX is a combination of a reading passage aligned with morphemes and their meanings. As the student reads through a passage, he/she is self-monitoring while using an Outside/Inside word attack strategy by first attempting to define the word from context, and then from the available morpheme definitions. I made adaptations to a well known Vocabulary Tricks derived from Baumann and his colleagues (2003) by adding self-regulatory vocabulary learning instruction strategies, calling it VTRIX. Learner’s use the Outside/Inside approach to look both inside and outside a word in order to read a challenging passage. 

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.4   Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone

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