Root Words Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Teach your students how to read, write, and identify root words with this lesson plan. With this lesson plan, students will watch an engaging video that outlines prefixes, suffixes, and root words as well as discuss and define key concepts. They will then play a fun game to make help the new info stick.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define 'root word'
  • explain how a root word relates to suffixes and prefixes
  • add prefixes and suffixes to root words
  • identify the meaning of words with common prefixes and suffixes


50-60 minutes


  • Index cards with root words, prefixes, or suffixes written on them

Key Vocabulary

  • Word parts
  • Root
  • Prefix
  • Suffix

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.3.2.e

Use conventional spelling for high-frequency and other studied words and for adding suffixes to base words (e.g., sitting, smiled, cries, happiness).

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.3.3.a

Identify and know the meaning of the most common prefixes and derivational suffixes.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.3.3.b

Decode words with common Latin suffixes.


  • Gather students together and write the words 'helpful,' 'spoonful,' and 'restful' on the board. Ask students to study for ten seconds, then share what they notice.
  • Now write the words 'refuel,' 'retreat,' and 'respell' on the board and repeat the process.
  • Lead students to the concepts of prefix and suffix, then help them identify the root words in each of these examples. Have volunteer students come and underline or outline the root words.
  • Write the term 'root word' on the board and work with students to define.
  • Start the video lesson Spelling & Word Patterns: Prefixes, Suffixes & Root Words and pause at 00:36 to ask:
    • What are word parts?
    • What do different word parts represent?
    • How do word parts determine meaning?
  • Resume the lesson and stop at 2:16 to discuss:
    • Why can some root words not stand alone?
  • Work with students to brainstorm a list of root words and record on chart paper or the board. Resume the lesson.
  • Pause at 3:22 and discuss:
    • Where are prefixes in a word?
    • What is a way you can remember where the prefixes are?
    • What impact do prefixes have on word meaning?
  • Brainstorm a list of prefixes and add to your labeled list, then resume the lesson.
  • Pause at 4:25 and ask:
    • Where is a suffix found in a word?
    • What does a suffix do to the meaning of a word?
  • List suffixes with students and add to the labeled list.
  • Play the Lesson Summary and allow students to ask any remaining questions.
  • Take the lesson quiz with students, allowing them to discuss answers with a partner and vote on the correct one. Reteach concepts if necessary.

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