Root Word Memory

Greek and Latin roots are really an essential standard the students need to master in the upper grades.  There are just so many benefits to them knowing the meanings of these words.

To help the students learn them, we have been learning between 2 and 5 a week since the beginning of the school year. (you can read about what specifically I do here and here)   But the initial lesson just wasn't enough.  So during my intervention time, the students have been playing "Root Word Memory"...and they LOVE it.

I created this specifically for the kids to use to help with root words, but the basic idea is the same as the children's game Memory.  An array of 48 cards is placed in the playing field face down.  The students then take turns flipping them over, looking for a match.

I did change it up a bit.  Since the object is to actually get them to know the *meanings* of the words, one card in the pair is the root, the other card is the meaning.

When it is a student's turn, he flips the first card over.  BEFORE he can flip over another card, he must read that first card aloud and tell what the match should be.

For example, if the first card that gets flipped over is "circum", the student would say something like, "Circum means around, so I am looking for around".

Then, the student flips over a second card.  BEFORE he can flip it back (if they don't match) he needs to read the card and say the possible match.  For example, "Terra...I know terra means that doesn't match circum".  Since the cards didn't match, they both get turned over and the next student gets a shot.

If the cards do match, the student keeps them and gets a second turn.  Then the process begins again.

The kids really do get into this.  They help each other out, and the object isn't simply to win, but to actually know the roots.  I find that they are racing to tell the meanings, not to gather cards.  As a result, they are all internalizing the roots and having a great time while doing it!

If you go to my Test Prep Stations post, there is a way you can get the first level free :).   You will notice that there are little symbols on some of them.  In the beginning, I used the picture set so the kids were 100% sure they got a match.  Now, however, my students use the non-pictured set, as they are pretty good at making the matches.

If you would like the entire set I created (including directions and a blank template), I have them uploaded onto my TpT store.  It is a small investment that will last the entire year!   If you buy the set, not only does it come with all 72 different roots/meanings, but 5 Progress Monitoring tests at each level!  And if you buy it, then want me to customize it, just let me know.  I will do that especially for my readers!  Plus, I worked really hard on you know you want it ;)  hee hee


  1. Great idea! This is so important-- I wish I had learned more of these roots when I was in school. I will have to pass this on to the ELA teacher at my school. A lot of my kids are going to a Catholic school next year where they have to take Latin so this would give them a head start!
    To The Square Inch

  2. This is not taught in our school district but the value of knowing the Greek and Latin roots is very important. Even though I teach 8th grade, I think I'll take an inventory to find out which ones they know just because of knowing vocabulary and then go from there. It's fun to read what other teachers do especially elementary teachers because they are so creative.

  3. Thank you for sharing! I've been looking for more interesting and creative ways to help my kiddos learn and understand word parts.

  4. Good idea! We study 100 Greek and Latin roots using the book _From the Roots Up_ and I love it. The students already make root cards so this is a natural extension. Thank you!

  5. I tried to purchase the memory game but can't find it. Please help.

    1. You should be able to find it here


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