Structural Analysis in Reading Activities

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

Structural analysis helps students decode, spell, and comprehend unfamiliar words by breaking them down into parts. The following activities will help readers practice using structural analysis.

Structural Analysis

When readers break difficult words into familiar prefixes, suffixes, and root words, it can improve fluency and comprehension. The process of breaking down these word parts is structural analysis. The activities in this resource provide teachers with interactive opportunities to support students who are learning to use structural analysis as a reading strategy. These activities are geared toward elementary students, but may also be used with older students who are struggling with reading.

Prefix and Root Word Matching Game


  • index cards- prepared with prefixes on some index cards and root words on other cards (Examples: un, happy, mis, take, im, possible, dis, like, re, play, pre, school)


  • Students will be provided with a set of cards.
  • Students will match a prefix to a root word.
  • Students will orally state a sentence using the word created in the match and explain its meaning.
  • Students will generate other words using these prefixes and create their own set of matching cards.

Suffix Sort


  • index cards- some prepared with root words (Examples: blend, girl, fight, tall, bad), some blank
  • pocket chart
  • sentence strips- prepared with suffixes (Examples: er, s, ing, est, ly)


  • Sentence strips with suffixes will be used as labels on a pocket chart.
  • Students will sort index cards and place them on the pocket chart based on which suffixes may be combined with the word to create a new word. Some words may have more than one answer. Students may create new cards for these words.
  • Students will generate additional words for each suffix. Students will create index cards for these words and add them to the pocket chart.
  • Students will select one suffix to analyze the new words and explain what these words mean and what they have in common.

Suffix Wheel


  • paper plates (2 per student)
  • paper fastener (brad)
  • straight edge/ruler
  • scissors

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