Learning Prefixes

A prefix is a group of letters attached to the beginning of a root or word (or even group of words) serving to modify and/or extend meaning. Prefixes generally have an easily understood meaning in and of themselves, which they apply to continued…


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the root word to which they are affixed. For example, “un” is a negative prefix which will change the otherwise positive word “happy” into “unhappy”. Learning about prefixes early on is important in that it greatly improves reading comprehension at all levels. Kids and adults alike enjoy learning about prefixes through fun word matching games.

Understanding prefixes and suffixes for kids is an important part of learning English grammar. Just as teaching kids root words is crucial to improving general reading comprehension skills, so does learning prefixes and using prefixes greatly increase kids’ vocabulary.

Knowing prefix meanings and prefix definitions also helps students see and use context and etymological clues, allowing them to make educated guesses about the meaning of unfamiliar words.

Teaching kids prefixes early on (prefixes for elementary school students) helps build a strong foundation of parts of speech which will be very useful later on when taking graduate and professional school entrance exams — especially since there are many prefixes on the GRE itself. For an early introduction to be most successful, it should be followed by learning prefixes in middle school and further reinforced by continuing to study prefixes in high school.

As numerous suffixes are derived from Greek and Latin roots, ESL students and teachers can benefit from a multi-lingual approach to the meanings of suffixes.

Whether learning or teaching prefixes, there are excellent online prefix resources for creating prefix worksheets as well as prefixes activities and prefix lists. Fun prefix games for kids are also a great way to embark on prefix learning.


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