Root Word Study

In 5th grade, knowing common Greek and Latin roots is a major standard that we often overlook (I know I am guilty of this in the past!)  Well, this year, I have declared a direct assault on this standard!  Each week, the students are learning various roots and affixes...and I can see SUCH a difference in their reading, comprehension, decoding, and overall knowledge of words.

To accomplish the daunting task of learning these roots, I bought the book Red Hot Root Words, Book 1 (Red Hot Root Words).  It has some of the most common roots that we use in the English language, and really has been a great start for me.  (click the book to read the Amazon review)

Each week, the students are given anywhere between 2 and 5 roots to learn.  On Wednesdays, the students create index cards of the root.  On the front of the card is the actual root, the definition, and a picture.  On the back are two teacher given examples with definitions, and two student created examples with definitions.

On Thursday, the students then make a divided circle map with the roots.  The circle map has 4 sections:  definition, picture, sentence, sample words.

About once every 2 weeks, I give the students a very quick, simple quiz on the roots.  They use the flash cards they have made to study the words, and then I give them a quiz asking for a definition of the root and a sample word.  I also include "nonsense" words made up of a few of the roots we know, and they have to tell me the definition (ie:  microtelenym = small far name)

Doing the root words this way has REALLY helped the students to gain an understanding of the words we are reading.  Whenever we read something in science, history, or even in our basal, the students are constantly coming up to me pointing out a root we have learned.  Their ability to figure out meanings of words has skyrocketed!  I am really happy with what is going on in my class as far as root words go.

Make sure you check out this post to see how I have displayed all of the roots in a Word Wall.

And here is a game I created dealing with roots that my kids LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!  Check it out!


  1. How clever! I love this! I want to share this on my website for our Texas teachers. This is a standard with much needed attention.

  2. Thank you Fisher Reyna Education! Feel free to share on your website. I hope that your teachers find it useful :)

  3. Hi Stephanie!
    I love this idea! I teach fourth grade and will definitely try to incorporate this when we get back from break! THANKS for sharing

  4. I Love this book series...I used it with my middle school students.

  5. Thank you for sharing! I want to try this. What do you do on Monday and Tuesday?

  6. oops...sorry...I asked questions on another post about the student versions of these and just now found my answers! :D

  7. I love your website and All of your ideas. How can I buy your root words and quizzes?

  8. I love your website and All of your ideas. How can I buy your root words and quizzes?


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