word study activities for 4th grade

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word study activities for 4th grade

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Vocabulary Workbook for Grade 4

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Fourth Grade Vocabulary Worksheets

Vocabulary and word usage worksheets for grade 4.

Use these 4th grade vocabulary worksheets to help your child improve vocabulary and word usage . All worksheets can be downloaded and printed; answer sheets are included.

The meaning of words

Words and their meanings : identify the word that matches the definition

Word definitions : select the best definition of each word

Match phrases : create meaningful sentences by combining phrases

Context clues : determine the meaning of words using cross-sentence clues

Sentences and paragraphs

Sentences : select the best word for each sentence

Paragraphs : fill in the missing words in a text

Homonyms, homophones and word usage

Multiple meaning words : find the word that completes two sentences

Homophones : identify the correct sound-alike word in sentences

Lose or loose?

Here or hear?

Accept or except?

Apostrophes : practice using apostrophes in sentences

Word practice

Word search : search for the hidden words

Jumbled words : unscramble the jumbled words using word clues

Link the letters : find vocabulary words in letter grids

Spiral puzzle : use clues to solve the spiral crossword

Crosswords : solve the crossword puzzles

Affixes and compound words

Prefix and suffix words : review the meaning of common prefixes and suffixes

Find the prefix / suffix : select prefixes/suffixes and write a new word

Define prefixes and suffixes : write meanings for prefix/suffix words

Compound words : identify compound words in a list of words

Compound words in sentences : identify compound words in sentences

Idioms, Proverbs, Similes, Metaphors

Similes : complete the similes using words from a word bank

Similes and metaphors : determine if phrases are similes or a metaphors

Rewrite similes and metaphors : rewrite similes as metaphors and vice versa

Proverbs and idioms : determine if each sentence is a proverb or an idiom

Proverbs : complete the proverbs using words from a word bank

Synonyms and antonyms

Synonyms : match words with similar meanings

Synonym crosswords: solve the crosswords

Antonyms:  match words with opposite meanings

word study activities for 4th grade

Sample grade 4 vocabulary worksheet

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word study activities for 4th grade

Tech ed from Teacher-authors

5 Websites for 4th Grade Word Study

word cloud

  • Grammar games –a collection of easy-to-use games that cover grammar, vocabulary, parts of speech, and more
  • Vocabulary-Spelling City –the ever-favorite word study program that lets you enter your class word lists and the site will turn them into engaging games.
  • Visuwords –a visual tool to see what words and concepts are related to specific words
  • Vocabulary Fun –use games to learn affixes, syllables, synonyms, idioms, and more
  • Word Central—from Merriam Webster– not only reinforces learning with games but allows students to build their own dictionary; also has a tab for educators.

Click here for more Word Study websites .

Click here for updates to this list.

Jacqui Murray  has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a  K-12 technology curriculum ,  K-8 keyboard curriculum,   K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum . She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an  Amazon Vine Voice , CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, contributor to  NEA Today , and author of the tech thrillers,  To Hunt a Sub  and  Twenty-four Days . You can find her resources at  Structured Learning.

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We are a group of dedicated international technology teachers with tons of experience in teaching K-18 t ech, unraveling its problems, and making it exciting for kids (and adults). We blog here, teach online grad school classes, provide curricula (like K-12 Technology curriculum ,  K-8 keyboard curriculum,   K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum ). Jacqui Murray (the face of AATT) also authors tech thrillers,  To Hunt a Sub  and  Twenty-four Days . You can find our resources at  Structured Learning.

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Fourth Grade Vocabulary Worksheets and Printables

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Direction Words

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Learning direction words can be helpful in various contexts, such as giving or following directions, understanding maps, describing locations, and improving spatial awareness. These words may have different meanings depending on the context, but they generally refer to the basic directions and can be a good starting point for learning and understanding spatial relationships. Practice using these words in real-life situations or by engaging in map-related activities to reinforce your understanding of direction words.

Position Words

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Learning position words is essential for describing the location of objects or people accurately. Position words help convey spatial relationships and give clear instructions. Appropriate position words can vary depending on the context and the specific relationship between objects. Practice using these words in real-life scenarios, such as giving directions or describing the placement of objects, to reinforce your understanding of position words.

Picture Sequencing

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Picture sequencing games offer a range of cognitive, memory, language, and problem-solving benefits. They provide an interactive and entertaining way to enhance various skills, making them suitable to promote learning and skill development in an entertaining manner.

Partners in Rhyme

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A fun online game for kindergarteners to build their skills with rhyming words as they think playing with words that rhyme is fun, so they stay engaged in learning longer.

Phonics Memory

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Learning phonics is an important foundation for children to develop strong reading and spelling skills. Phonics teaches the relationship between letters and their corresponding sounds, enabling children to decode words and recognize patterns. We make phonics learning interactive, engaging, and fun for children. Each child learns at their own pace, so be patient and provide positive reinforcement and support throughout the process.

Spell Fruits

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Learning to spell fruit names can be an enjoyable and educational activity. When teaching spelling, it can be helpful to break down the word into its individual sounds and syllables. Additionally, you can encourage children to practice writing the words, use them in sentences, or create fun mnemonic devices to aid in remembering the spelling. Engaging in activities like word searches, crossword puzzles, or spelling games that focus on fruit names can also make the learning process more interactive and enjoyable.

Spell the Vegetable

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Spell the name of the vegetable by clicking on the letters! Play this fun interactive vegetables spelling game for Kindergarteners on Turtle Diary!

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Homophones are words that sound the same but have different meanings and, in most cases, different spellings. Although they are pronounced identically or similarly, homophones have distinct definitions and usage. Teaching homophones can be a fun and engaging way to enhance children's vocabulary and language skills.

Race for Idiom and Proverb

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Idioms and proverbs are both forms of figurative language that are commonly used in everyday speech and writing. While they share similarities, they have distinct characteristics. Both idioms and proverbs add color, depth, and cultural richness to language. They can be challenging for non-native speakers to understand and use correctly, as their meanings are not always predictable from the literal meanings of the words involved. However, mastering idioms and proverbs can greatly enhance one's ability to communicate effectively and express ideas with cultural nuance.

Shoot For Metaphors And Similes

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Metaphors and similes are both figures of speech that are used to make comparisons and enhance the meaning of language. Both metaphors and similes serve to enhance language and add depth to communication. They provide imaginative and creative ways to describe and compare different aspects of the world around us. Understanding metaphors and similes enables individuals to interpret and appreciate figurative language more effectively.

Spelling Days of The Week

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Learning the days of the week is an important step in understanding time and organizing schedules. Teaching the days of the week to kids can be an interactive and engaging process. Remember to keep the activities age-appropriate and make learning interactive and enjoyable. Regular reinforcement and repetition of the days of the week in various contexts will help children become familiar with the names and sequence over time.

Spelling Months of The Year

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These are the 12 months that make up a year. Each month has its own unique characteristics, holidays, and events associated with it. Learning the months of the year is an important foundation for understanding time and organizing schedules.

Spelling Numbers

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Number names are the words used to represent the respective numerical values. Learning number names is essential for counting, understanding quantities, and performing basic arithmetic operations. Learning to spell numbers is an important foundational skill in mathematics.

Matching Synonyms

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Make learning synonyms fun with Turtle Diary's Matching Synonym game. This game teaches synonyms via matching, a game you won't forget!

Relate The Words

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Related words are words that are connected or associated in meaning, usage, or context. They may share similarities in their definitions, be used interchangeably in certain contexts, or have overlapping meanings.

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Spellathon is a fun word-making game for kids. In this, kids have to make as many words as they can from a given set of letters. The game has two difficulty levels- easy and hard. In the first level, kids will learn how to make 3 letter words. In the second level, kids will practice making 4 to 7 letter words. Kids will enjoy this challenging game as they improve their spelling skills and expand their vocabulary.

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Word-picture matching activities help reinforce vocabulary, enhance visual literacy, and strengthen the association between written/spoken words and their corresponding images. It is an effective strategy for learners of various ages and proficiency levels.

How to use Dictionary

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Master these online puzzles to learn how to use a dictionary in one of Turtle Diary's online vocabulary games for 2nd grade.

Spelling Words First Grade

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Begin by introducing simple, high-frequency words that are familiar to the students. These can include common sight words like "cat," "dog," "hat," "run," and "jump." Use visual aids such as flashcards or pictures to make the words more memorable. Teach the relationship between letters and sounds through phonics. Introduce letter-sound correspondence and demonstrate how different sounds can be represented by specific letters or letter combinations. For example, explain that the letter "c" can make the sound /k/ as in "cat."

Spelling Words Second Grade

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Reinforce phonics skills by teaching the relationship between letters and sounds. Introduce new phonetic patterns, digraphs (two letters representing one sound, such as "ch" or "sh"), and blends (consonant clusters, such as "st" or "tr"). Use a variety of resources like phonics charts, word cards, and interactive activities to engage students in learning letter-sound connections.

Spelling Words Third Grade

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Teaching spellings to third-grade kids involves building on their existing spelling skills and expanding their vocabulary. Focus on teaching word patterns, including prefixes, suffixes, and root words. Help students understand how adding these elements can change the meaning and spelling of words. Provide word lists and activities that reinforce these patterns.

Spelling Words Fourth Grade

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Teaching spellings to fourth-grade kids involves building on their prior knowledge and expanding their spelling abilities. Utilize interactive spelling games, online resources, or educational apps that provide engaging spelling activities and practice opportunities. These resources can make learning spelling enjoyable and help reinforce spelling skills.

Spelling Words Fifth Grade

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Teaching spellings to fifth-grade kids involves refining their spelling skills and expanding their vocabulary. Introduce new vocabulary words that align with the students' grade level and curriculum. Teach their spellings, definitions, and usage in context. Encourage students to incorporate these words into their speaking and writing.

Confusing Spellings

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Confusing spellings can present challenges for students. Teach students to recognize common letter patterns or chunks in words that may cause confusion. Help them identify patterns like "ei" and "ie," "ou" and "ow," or "c" and "k" sounds. Practice spelling words with these patterns and discuss the rules or guidelines that govern their usage.

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Adapt this free word study activity to almost any reading lesson for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students

A Free, No Prep Word Study Activity

Adapt this free word study activity to almost any reading lesson for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students

This no prep word study activity makes a great review and can be easily adapted for whatever skill you are currently working on.  Pull it out of your teaching bag of tricks on days that you don't have as much time to plan, or when something comes up that interrupts your regularly scheduled lesson.

3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students will love it, and since it's no prep, so will you.  All you need is some words on your wall (things like posters, signs, word walls, etc.), and something for students to write on and write with.

How This Word Study Activity Works

Have your upper elementary students pull out something to write with and write on (I prefer whiteboards and dry erase markers for this activity), and send them on a scavenger hunt, using words from around the room, on posters, anchor charts, word walls, etc.  Choose a skill you have been working on as a class, or a skill you know your students need to review.  For example, have students write down:

  • words that have a certain amount of syllables (2 syllable words, 3 syllable words, etc.)
  • words that are a certain part of speech (nouns, verbs, prepositions, etc.)
  • words with certain prefixes or suffixes
  • words with Greek or Latin roots
  • compound words
  • words with a certain spelling pattern
  • words that rhyme with each other
  • words that are a certain syllable type

While this is an ideal no prep word study activity, you could also have students practice other skills.  Have students choose a certain number of words from the wall, and then:

  • put them in alphabetical order
  • come up with synonyms and antonyms for each
  • use them each in a sentence
  • write a paragraph/short story that includes all of the words
  • divide each of the words into syllables

If this sounds like something you want to try out in your classroom, then check out these Reading Scavenger Hunts.  Each of the activities sends students on a scavenger hunt for a variety of different types of words.

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Behavior Management Tips

While you could have students complete this while sitting at their desk, this no prep word study activity provides an ideal opportunity for letting students walk around and stretch their legs while still working.  (You can find other brain break ideas here.)

Giving students clear instructions upfront will limit behavior problems.  Before letting 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students walk around and look for words, make sure they know the answers to these questions:

  • What exactly are they looking for?
  • How will they know they are finished?  Are they looking for a set number of words, or will they continue to write down words until you tell them to stop?
  • What sorts of movements are appropriate/how quickly can students walk around the room?
  • Are students aloud to talk during this activity?  How loudly can they talk?
  • Can students only use words they find on the walls, or can they search through different books around the classroom as well?

Reasons This No Prep Word Study Activity Rocks

No Prep This literally requires no prep work.  All you need is words on your wall, clear expectations, and a skill you want students to practice.  It's one of my favorite no prep ELA activities.

Because it requires no prep, it is a great activity for those days when you don't have as much time to plan, those times when something interrupts and changes your regularly scheduled lesson, and might also make a great activity to impress administration during a surprise observation.

Gives Students A Chance To Walk Around Any activity that allows students to walk around while still also "working" is a good one in my book!

Reminds Students To Reference Your Word Walls Teachers spend a lot of time putting up bulletins, word walls, anchor charts, and posters in hopes that students will use them and learn from them.  This activity is a great reminder to students that the classroom walls are a great resource!

These word wall ideas for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students can help you use your wall space wisely.  

Easily Adaptable This is a great review for a huge variety of ELA skills, which makes it easy to integrate into almost any lesson.  (These reading scavenger hunts send students to find a variety of different types of words.) You can have students practice finding words with prefixes and suffixes one week, and then use this same activity the next week to have students review parts of speech.

Because your 3rd, 4th, or 5th grade students get to get up and walk around, they won't mind doing this no prep activity over and over.

You might like some of these other no prep, reusable activity ideas.  

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word study activities for 4th grade

Home » Blog » Make Word Study Fun: Strategies For Playing With Words

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Make Word Study Fun: Strategies For Playing With Words

word study activities for 4th grade

Teaching children to read is perhaps the single most important job we have as elementary school teachers. Reading is the foundation for everything! There have been a lot of theories and much debate about the best strategies for teaching reading. I’ve spent a lot of time studying literacy—enough to know that how I used to teach reading wasn’t great. I emphasized memorization way too much and didn’t spend enough time giving students phonics strategies they could apply to unfamiliar words. 

Research into the science of reading has given us a lot of insights into how the brain works when learning how to read. We now know that most children need explicit instruction in phonics and phonemic awareness to make connections between how a word looks and how it sounds. 

Knowing about the science of reading is the first step for teachers to become better at teaching literacy. The next step is knowing how to make it fun and enticing for kids! In my classroom, we talk a lot about “playing with words.” Word study time isn’t about rote memorization, it’s about exploring words with curiosity. 

I personally love the Orton Gillingham approach. It was developed specifically to help students with learning challenges such as dyslexia, but it also works well with any young learner. It’s a multisensory approach to reading, using visual, auditory, and kinesthetic strategies. The idea is to give students multiple ways to interact with (and play!) with words. It’s an evidence and science-based way to teach reading that really works! 

Here are my favorite strategies for making word study fun, using concepts based on the science of reading and the Orton Gillingham approach: 

Word Sorts of All Shapes & Sizes

There are so many ways you can use word sort activities when teaching students how to read. Word sorts push students to use higher-order thinking skills as they look for similarities and differences in the features of each word. 

The best part about word sorts is that you can easily tweak the activities to suit your particular students’ needs and interests. 

  • For your visual learners, add color-coding or highlighting to the word sort activity.
  • Are your students competitive? Race against a partner or see if they can beat their own time by completing a timed word sort. 
  • Even more motivating? Have them beat the teacher by finding mistakes that you’ve purposefully made. Kids love pointing out their teacher’s mistakes! 
  • Get kids up and moving by doing a word sort gallery walk. Tape up words around the room and have students travel with their notebooks, recording the words in their correct categories. 
  • Integrate technology with digital word sort activities.

Try several different styles of word sorts to see what works best with your students. 

Trash It! Which Word is Nonsense?

My students always love this fun twist to phonics. Present your students with a word list that includes a handful of words with specific spelling patterns. Three of the words follow the spelling pattern you’re currently studying, and one does not! Students have to use higher-order thinking skills to identify the one word that doesn’t belong. The digital version I created has students actually dragging the mismatched word into trash cans. Check out the Digital Word Work for Grades 1-5 here . 

Word Riddles

I include word riddles with each of my Digital Word Work bundles. This requires more advanced proficiency in phonemic awareness. Students read the riddle and then choose which word from the given list solves the puzzle. My clues focus on various phonemes, patterns, and syllabication. Here’s an example of a slide from third grade:

word study activities for 4th grade

Word Work Dice Games

There are tons of different games you can play with dice during word study time. Some ideas include: 

  • Rainbow roll & write: students write their words based on the color they roll
  • Roll & spell: students roll the dice to choose beginning, medial, and ending letters/sounds. After they have the full word written out, they have to decide if they wrote a real or a nonsense word. 

Hands-On Word Play

I love changing things up by introducing activities using hands-on materials. Some ideas include: 

  • Molding words out of play-doh
  • Tracing words in a sand tray or sensory bin
  • Forming letters with wikki stix
  • Stamping letters 
  • Forming words with alphabet magnets, cookie cutters, or blocks
  • Build words using clothespins labeled with each letter

These types of activities certainly help your kinesthetic learners, but they can also be a lot of fun! Most importantly, it slows students down and allows them to analyze words letter-by-letter, sound-by-sound.

If you don’t have the supplies needed to try those suggestions, I also have Hands-On Word Work bundles for grades 1-3 , which involve cutting, pasting, and sorting.

word study activities for 4th grade

Word Work Tic-Tac-Toe

Students are always more motivated when they are given autonomy to make choices about their learning. With a tic-tac-toe board, students can choose any three Word Work activities they want, as long as they can get three in a row. Some options may include: 

  • Sort words by what they have in common, and let them find the commonality on their own (same medial sound, same digraph, etc.)
  • Change one sound in a word to make a new word
  • Write three rhyming words each
  • Write a complete sentence for each word

I think the key to making word study fun is to offer your students a variety of options that appeal to all learning types. 

Ready to try some new word study activities without spending hours creating your own materials? Check out my Digital Word Work Bundles, customized for each grade level: 

First Grade  

Second Grade

Third Grade

Fourth Grade

Fifth Grade

Do you have any favorite word study activities that haven’t been mentioned yet? Let me know in the comments!

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word study activities for 4th grade

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36 Meaningful Vocabulary Activities for Every Grade

These activities are the definition of fun!

word study activities for 4th grade

Learning new words is like adding to your writing toolbox. The more tools available, the more interesting and engaging your writing becomes. Check out these fun and engaging vocabulary activities for kids in grades K-12, and supply your students with the tools they need to build their wordsmith skills.

A clipboard with a vocabulary short story written on it

1. Write vocabulary stories

Using vocabulary words in writing shows mastery. Challenge your students to use all of their vocabulary words in an original short story. Allow students to pair up and share their stories with a partner.

Learn more: Vocab Short Story 

2. Put your students in the hot seat

Divide your class into two teams. Choose one student from one team to go to the front of the room and sit in a chair facing the class with their back to the board. This person is “on the spot.” Place a word on the board so everyone can see it except the person in the chair. One at a time, team members give the person a clue about the mystery word. If the word is guessed before two minutes are up, the team gets a point and play turns to the other team.

Learn more: On the Spot at Upper Elementary Snapshots

A vocabulary activity set featuring vocabulary words and definitions as an example of vocabulary activities

3. Match up words and definitions

Download these vocabulary words and matching definitions. Distribute one card to each student (either a word or a definition). Allow students to circulate in the room and find their “match.” Switch cards and repeat.

Learn more: Dictionary Sort

A word map made up around the word cowboys

4. Sketch up word maps

Creating word maps from vocabulary words encourages students to find the relationships between the vocabulary word and other words. Have them include words, pictures, examples, real-world connections, definitions, descriptive words, etc.

Learn more: Word Map

A small clipboard with a purple post-it note attached on top of a floral backdrop

5. Create Post-it stations

Post vocabulary words around the room, then have students circulate and write an original sentence using that word on a sticky note. Follow along and make sure students use the words correctly.

Learn more: Post-it Stations

A hand pulling a car with an illustration of popcorn and the word pop! out of a red and white striped bag as an example of vocabulary activities

6. Play a game of Pop!

Kids draw cards out of the bag and attempt to correctly spell them. But be careful, you don’t want to draw the Pop! card.

Learn more: Pop!

7. Take a gallery walk

Hang six to eight large sheets of chart paper in various places around the room. On each sheet, write one vocabulary word. Have students work in small groups, rotating between stations. At each station, ask students to come up with a different, original way to use each word. Continue the activity until all students have visited every station.

Learn more: Gallery Walk at TeachWriting.org

A Pictionary vocabulary worksheet

8. Play a round of Pictionary

This fun activity requires students to draw a picture for each word to create their own visual dictionary. When students create their own visual representations, they develop an association with the word that they will be able to tap into when needed.

Learn more: Pictionary

Word map for the word 'respect' as an example of vocabulary activities

9. Make a word map

Word maps help deepen understanding of a vocab word by relating it to other words and concepts students already know.

Frayer Model for the word Noun

10. Use the Frayer model

Frayer models are a popular way to learn new words and concepts. Kids define the word in their own terms, then list facts and characteristics, examples, and non-examples.

Learn more: Frayer Model

An example of student note-taking method Sketchnotes

11. Draw vocabulary Sketchnotes

Kids and teachers love Sketchnotes ! Rather than writing out definitions, have students draw a sketch that sums up each word instead. It’s a lot more fun and gives kids an image for visual association to help them remember the meanings.

Learn more: Sketchnotes

Printable vocabulary worksheet for Bumper Words game as an example of vocabulary activities

12. Bump words along

Group vocab words together with a few other words with similar meanings and one that’s an antonym. Students identify the antonym and “bump” it to the next box, filling in the next group of words. They continue until the worksheet is full.

Learn more: Bumper Words

word study activities for 4th grade

13. Post a graffiti wall

Think of a vocabulary graffiti wall like a collaborative word wall. In the classroom, post the words on the wall and have kids add sticky notes to illustrate the term (they can use words or pictures). Online, try a tool like Padlet or Google Slides.

Learn more: Graffiti Wall

Character Match printable worksheet showing a drawing of a person with matching vocabulary words

14. Match words to describe character

This is a terrific way to practice vocab words pulled from books you’re reading. Ask students to use various words to describe the different characters in the book and their feelings, thoughts, and actions.

Learn more: Vocabulary Activities

Printable A to Z vocabulary word game worksheet as an example of vocabulary activities

15. Fill in words from A to Z

This vocabulary game is fun and challenging, and it can be played by kids of any age. Choose a word, then challenge kids to come up with related words for as many letters as possible. These could be synonyms, antonyms, examples, and more. Trickier letters are worth more points!

Learn more: A to Z

Screenshot of a teacher using communication program Flip

16. Try Flip for vocabulary activities

Are you on the Flip (formerly Flipgrid) bandwagon yet? It’s perfect for vocabulary activities! Have kids record a quick video for each word, using their creativity to make it fun and meaningful.

Learn more: Pop-Up Pods

A Vocabulary Jeopardy game board

17. Battle it out in Vocabulary Jeopardy

Good vocabulary activities encourage more than just memorization of definitions. That’s why we like this Jeopardy game idea. It explores synonyms and antonyms and how words are used in real sentences.

Learn more: Not So Wimpy Teacher

Example of a vocabulary learning method called RAFT as an example of vocabulary activities

18. Use RAFTs to write vocabulary stories

Writing a story using vocab words is a perennial favorite, but the RAFT method gives it a new twist. Students are assigned a Role (the point of view from which they’ll tell the story), an Audience, a Format, and a Topic. For instance, they might be an astronaut (Role) writing a postcard (Format) to their friends back home (Audience) about what they’ve seen on Mars (Topic). RAFTs are especially great for kids who claim they don’t know what to write about.

Learn more: RAFTs

word study activities for 4th grade

19. Discover the power of words

Vocabulary words take on greater meaning when students incorporate them into their daily lives. Challenge kids to use their vocab words in conversation and writing outside the language arts classroom. Use the free printable worksheet here to help them keep track of how often they use them.

Learn more: Downloadable Vocabulary Activities

Colorful vocabulary graphic organizer

20. Create graphic organizers

Colorful organizers like these are terrific vocabulary activities. Want to go digital? Have kids make a slideshow, one slide per word. They can include the same information, but instead of drawing a picture, have them find one online that illustrates the concept.

Learn more: Graphic Organizers at Upper Elementary Snapshots

A vocabulary worksheet for children to learn a word a week as an example of vocabulary activities

21. Focus on a Word of the Week

Give really important terms the attention they deserve. Choose a new vocab word each week, then explore it in depth day by day.

Learn more: Word of the Week

W worksheet for vocabulary activity Million Dollar Words

22. Join the Million Dollar Word Club

Post a list of target vocab words. If a student uses one of the words in class (outside of vocabulary activities), they become a member of the Million Dollar Word Club! You can have them sign their name on a wall in the classroom or award a badge online. You could even develop this into a reward system for homework passes or extra credit.

Learn more: Million Dollar Words

A vocabulary activity for students using paint sample cards

23. Explore shades of meaning

This is a cool idea for exploring synonyms and the slight differences that make words unique. Ask for paint sample strips at your local hardware store, or buy a clip art set .

Learn more: Shades of Meaning

A colorful example of a vocabulary activity  as an example of vocabulary activities

24. Personify a word with social media

This is one of those vocabulary activities kids will want to do over and over again! Assign each student a word and have them create a faux Facebook, Instagram, or other social media page for it. They can draw them freehand or complete a template like these from Teachers Pay Teachers . Post the images to a shared Google slideshow so other students can use them for review.

Learn more: Social Media Vocabulary

An index card decorated with vocabulary activities

25. Create vocabulary cards

Have students draw a diagonal line across an index card. On the top half, have them write the vocabulary word and definition. On the bottom half, have them draw a picture of the word and use it in a sentence. Cards can be joined together in a strip for easy review.

Learn more: Index Card Vocabulary

A Vocabulary game version of the game Taboo

26. Play vocabulary word Taboo

In this game, the goal is for one student to get their partner to guess the word by describing or giving examples of it. The trick? There’s a list of additional words they’re not allowed to use! Let other students see the card in advance to help keep the players honest. (Flash it on a whiteboard and have the guesser face away.)

Learn more: Don’t Say It! Vocabulary Game

A bright pink vocabulary worksheet entitled Roll a Word as an example of vocabulary activities

27. Roll a die for vocabulary activities

Choose a vocab word, then have a student roll a die ( these virtual dice are handy ) to see which activity they get to complete.

Learn more: Roll a Word

A vocabulary worksheet used by students to form an acrostic from a vocab word

28. Write an acrostic

Write an acrostic poem for each vocab term, using the letters to determine the first word in each line. This can get really challenging when words are longer!

Learn more: Acrostic Poem

A vocabulary board game called word on the street

29. Play vocabulary board games

Everyone knows that playing games is the best way to learn. Try some of these fabulous board games with your students and watch their vocabularies grow.

Learn more: 11 Vocab Games To Make the Learning Stick

Cover image of Peter Reynolds' book The Word Collector as an example of vocabulary activities

30. Become a Word Collector

This is one of those picture books that grown-up kids will enjoy as much as little ones. Use it to remind your kids that they don’t need a vocabulary list to learn new words—new words are all around them. Encourage them to keep a word list or journal of their own to record new words they want to explore and use more often.

Buy it: The Word Collector

Two young students wearing head bands giggle at each other

31. Play Vocabulary Headbanz

Make or buy headbands with a notch on the front designed to hold a card. Create cards with vocabulary words on them. To play, each student gets a card but can’t see it. Other students will describe the word, trying to get the one wearing the headband to guess the correct word.

Learn more: Vocab Headbanz

A vocabulary lesson version of the game Go Fish

32. Go Fish!

A fun and lively way to practice vocabulary words. Create a deck of vocabulary words with two of each word. Explain the rules of Go Fish to students and let them loose!

Learn more: Go Fish Vocab Game

Wooden letter beads threaded onto a pipe cleaner and vocabulary cards with pictures as an example of vocabulary activities

33. String three-letter words

Using wooden letter beads and pipe cleaners, students will form three-letter words that match vocabulary cards.

Learn more: Three-Letter Busy Bag

An adult and two kids play a round of vocabulary charades

34. Play vocabulary charades

Everybody loves an exciting round of charades. Break your students into groups, provide them with a stack vocabulary cards, and watch them learn!

Learn more: Word Charades

A teacher and student lay side by side on a mat as they make words with plastic letters

35. Make words

Use plastic letters, magnet letters, or letter blocks to make words. Play it mentally with older kids, or with paper and pencil. Simply give your children some letters and challenge them to make words from those letters.

Learn more: Make a Word

A dictionary surrounded by vocabulary task cards as an example of vocabulary activities

36. Do a dictionary dig

Send your students on a scavenger hunt … in the dictionary! Exposing kids to the thousands of words in our language is both inspiring and fun. Download the free task cards below.

Learn more: Dictionary Dig

Reading poetry also helps students expand their vocabulary. Check out these must-share poems for elementary school and middle and high school .

Plus, get all the latest teaching tips and ideas when you sign up for our free newsletters .

Help kids make a deeper connection to new words with these vocabulary activities. They work for any word list, elementary to high school.

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5 Downloadable Vocabulary Activities that Make Words Stick

Make word study fun and engaging for your students. Continue Reading

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3 Steps to Effective Word Study Instruction

If your school is working on implementing teaching practices that align with the science of reading , then chances are you are probably going to be giving a lot more instructional time to word study.

If you are a third, fourth, or fifth-grade teacher, then you have probably been told that you need to make word study a priority this year, but maybe you’re wondering what exactly word study is.

 Simply put, word study is the study of words.

It is the part of our instructional day that teaches students how words work. 

Word study is the process of learning everything about words: spelling, meaning, pronunciation, historical origin, and connection to other words. 

When you think of word study instruction in upper elementary, you want to keep a big picture perspective. We want to make sure that we are giving students tools that will make them skilled readers.

Word study lessons can help our students make progress towards that goal.

Why is word study important in upper elementary ?

  • If we want our students to be skilled readers, they have to have a foundation that allows them to actually read and understand the words they see on a page, and your word study instruction will help with that. 
  • In upper elementary, students start to see more multisyllabic words. Many students who are fluent or proficient readers in the primary grades start to struggle when they see big words. It’s possible they were fine reading single syllable words, and they might have a strong phonics foundation, but with the introduction of multisyllabic words, they start to struggle. Word study instruction can help students read multisyllabic words .
  • Word study lessons also support both reading and writing.
  • Finally, it is estimated that over 60% of English words have meanings that can be predicted from their word parts. This means we definitely want to be giving enough focus on word study to give students the tools to help them understand the meaning of most words they encounter.

What does effective word study instruction look like in upper elementary?

There are three steps you can take to create an effective word study block in upper elementary.

  • You need to provide systematic and explicit instruction. 
  • You need to provide students with opportunities to play with, manipulate, and explore words. 
  • You need to provide opportunities for students to transfer their word study understanding to the texts they read. 

Let’s break each step down.

word study activities for 4th grade

Step 1: Provide Explicit and Systematic Instruction:

When we are teaching word study concepts, we want our instruction to be both explicit and systematic.

Systematic refers to the order in which you teach the concepts.

You want to teach your words study lessons in an order that makes sense. You want to start with simple concepts and progress to more complex or challenging ones.

For example. If you are teaching your students about word parts and how each part of a word has a meaning that can help readers figure out the meaning of the whole word, then you might follow a progression like this:

  • Start by introducing compound words.
  • Move into prefixes.
  • Introduce suffixes
  • Explain that some suffixes are inflectional, and some are derivational.
  • Show students examples of words that have both prefixes and suffixes.
  • Then you might introduce common Latin roots.
  • Then you probably move on to explain Greek roots and combining forms.

So rather than just jumping straight into your instruction about roots (which is a key standard in upper elementary), you start by teaching the more simple and basic concepts and build on the knowledge your students have as you progress to the more advanced concepts.

Explicit instruction refers to how you teach your lessons.

Whether you are teaching whole group or small group, you can provide explicit instruction. Explicit instruction means you are being specific and intentional with how you explain and model word study concepts.

  • You want to introduce word study concepts one at a time (small bite-sized chunks).
  • Define terms and use academic language.
  • Model using concrete examples.
  • Show students examples of words that are the exception to the rule.

For example, if you are teaching suffixes to your students, you wouldn’t just explain that adding a suffix can change the meaning of the word, but you would explain that suffixes can change the spelling, meaning, pronunciation, and even the part of speech.

When we introduce and teach a word study concept, we want our students to have a full understanding of that specific topic.

word study activities for 4th grade

S tep 2: Give Students Opportunities to Explore and Play With Words

Before students can fully master and apply their word study knowledge to their independent reading and writing, they need an opportunity to play with words in a hands-on way. 

This is often the missing link in word study instruction. We don’t always give our students an opportunity to play with words but instead expect that after one whole group lesson, they have mastered the concept.

When students get to play with and explore words, not only do they develop a much deeper understanding of the concept, but they start to feel much more confident in their ability to notice word study generalizations. They also get a chance to apply what they are learning in a fun and engaging way.

One of my favorite activities f or wordplay is word of the week .

Word of the week is a super simple word study routine that can be modified or adapted to address a variety of word study concepts like context clues, prefixes, suffixes, and roots.

Here are some other ideas for activities that you could incorporate into your word study lessons:

  • Word Ladders
  • Building Words

Word play activities word great in literacy work stations or are part of any independent practice routine.

word study activities for 4th grade

S tep 3: Help students transfer their word study understanding to the texts they read. 

The ultimate goal of our word study instruction is to help students become more fluent readers (automatically reading a text with comprehension) and strong writers. So we don’t want their word study knowledge to only be present during word study lessons.

This means we need to actively provide opportunities and reminders to help students transfer what you have taught them during word study lessons to their actual reading and writing.

Once you have explicitly taught a concept, you want to regularly review, discuss, and spiral it into your literacy instruction to support automaticity and fluency. 

This can be done with any and all teaching experiences.

Anytime you are encountering words, take a minute to find a word that includes a word study concept and point it out to your students. Do a short little mini-lesson on that word and show students how the word study lessons you’ve been teaching are helping them read, spell, pronounce, or understand the words they read.

Consider bringing word study into the following parts of your instructional day:

  • Read Alouds
  • Other Content Areas
  • Small Group Lessons
  • Morning meetings
  • Literacy Workstations

Basically, anytime you are reading or writing something, you have the opportunity to reinforce word study concepts.

One of the really cool things about word study is that your word study instruction doesn’t have to be long.

Your explicit and introduction lessons might take 5-10 minutes, but once you’ve introduced a word study concept, you’re giving your students permission to notice that word study concept in anything they are reading and writing. 

Grab Your FREE Gift!

Word Of The Day: Context Clue Routine

With this freebie, you’ll get everything you need to get started with word of the day in your classroom. You’ll get all the student and teacher materials for five days. Word of the day will help your students become experts at using context clues.

word study activities for 4th grade

Put it into practice…

If you are ready to take action and start to give more focus to your word study lessons, here are three things you can do.

  • Grab my Word of the Week freebie and introduce that routine to your students.
  • Listen to episode #94 of the podcast , where I share four word study concepts every upper elementary teacher should be teaching.
  • Come join us inside The Stellar Literacy Collective to get access to a ton of word study resources and support so you know how to incorporate them into your classroom.

Happy Teaching!

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Teaching Morphology in Grades 4-5 (with Free Resources)

Confession: I used to spend a week teaching affixes (prefixes and suffixes) and then another couple of weeks teaching roots. I’d assess and we’d move on to my next language/grammar standard. Sure, I may have spiraled them through grammar review and even mentioned them implicitly if it came up in texts we were reading. But I didn’t explicitly plan for morphology instruction. Because of this, I missed a great opportunity to help my students become better readers.

Does this sound like your experience with teaching affixes and roots? If so, this post will share some possibilities and the “power” of teaching morphology, including using it to help students with vocabulary, decoding, and spelling.

Teaching morphology can be a great way to help students with understanding unknown words, decoding multisyllabic words, and spelling. Read more and download free morphology resources!

What is Morphology?

Morphology is the study of word structure. A morpheme is a group of letters that has its own meaning. The letters can be within a word or the entire word.

The word dis trust has two morphemes: “ dis ” and “ trust .”

The word books  has two morphemes: “ book ” and “ s .”

Morphology instruction begins as early as 1st grade when students are taught about plural endings and past tense endings.

Teaching morphology can help students unlock the structure and meaning of unknown words they encounter as they are reading (and writing). Let’s look at some more background information on morphemes and then how having a morphology study in your classroom can help students.

Different Types of Morphemes

Free vs bound morpheme.

Remember that a morpheme is a group of letters that hold meaning. This can be a single word (free morpheme) or parts of words (bound morphemes). Bound morphemes are affixes and roots that cannot stand on their own. They must be connected to another morpheme.

Teaching morphology can be a great way to help students with understanding unknown words, decoding multisyllabic words, and spelling. Read more and download free morphology resources!

Types of Affixes

An affix is a type of morpheme. An affix is a group of letters added to the beginning or end of a word to change its meaning.

The two main types of affixes are prefixes and suffixes . Prefixes come before a base word, and suffixes come after a base word. Both prefixes and suffixes change the meaning of a word BUT prefixes never change the part of speech. Suffixes can (but not all of them do) change the part of speech.

There are two different types of affixes:

Inflectional : change the form or usage of the word. They can pluralize the word, change the verb tense, show possession, or show comparison. In most cases, these do not change the part of speech. Only suffixes are inflectional. Examples: -s, -es, -ed, -ing. These are taught very early on in the primary grades.

Derivational : create new words with different meanings and sometimes different parts of speech. Both prefixes and suffixes can be derivational, but only suffixes change the part of speech of a word.

It is not important for students to know these terms or even to be able to define/identify them. However, it is important to ensure that you are teaching both types of suffixes. Inflectional suffixes are taught as early as kindergarten/first grade, and derivational suffixes are ongoing. Check out this post from Linguistics Girl for more information and lots of examples for both inflectional and derivational affixes.

Teaching morphology can be a great way to help students with understanding unknown words, decoding multisyllabic words, and spelling. Read more and download free morphology activities for grades 4-5!

Base Words and Roots

A base word is a word that can stand alone and hold meaning. It can also have an affix added to it to create a new word. Examples: hope, like, trust, appear. These are all base words and can stand alone. Affixes can also be added to them to make new words.

Free cheat sheets for prefixes and suffixes to add to your morphology instruction!

A root is the primary form of a word. Unlike a base word, it cannot stand on its own. However, like a base word, you can add morphemes to it to create words. Examples: aud, bio, dict, graph

Free cheat sheets for Greek and Latin roots to add to your morphology instruction!

Teaching Morphology: Defining Words

Most students are only able to explicitly learn about 8-10 new words a week through direct instruction. Morphology gives another avenue for students to strengthen their vocabulary.

When students are presented with unknown or new words while reading, they can use their knowledge of prefixes, roots/base word, and suffixes to determine the meaning of the word OR to get a general understanding of the word.

Example: overexcite

  • Excite means cause strong feelings of enthusiasm .
  • Over means excessive or too muc h .

“Overexcite” means excessive feelings of enthusiasm .

Example: thermal

  • Therm means heat .
  • Al means relating to.

“Thermal” means relating to heat.

Morphology is so powerful for helping readers with vocabulary, decoding, and spelling! Morphology warmups are the perfect activity to incorporate more intentional morphology work into your existing curriculum!

These warmups are included in my Morphology Warmups Bundle. Click here to check out the warmups on TPT.

A Note of Caution: There are some limitations to using morphemes to define unknown words if students use it as their only strategy. Some affixes have more than one meaning (in- and -en). Also, sometimes removing a prefix or suffix does not help with determining the meaning of a word (example: grateful – full of grate is not helpful). Some words may appear to have prefixes and suffixes but do not (uncle, missile, repeat). Explicitly going over a few examples with students AND reminding them of the importance of context is important to avoid these problems.

Teaching Morphology: Decoding Words

Finding morphemes in a word can not only help students find the meaning of a word, but it can also help them decode words to easily read them.

When students are presented with multisyllabic words, they can break them into more manageable morpheme chunks. This helps when reading a long or complicated word. It is far more efficient than sounding out each letter and often more efficient than breaking the word in syllables.

Because morphemes also carry meaning, the students will be breaking the word apart in a way that aids both decoding and understanding.

unfeelingness

un   feel   ing   ness

disagreement

dis   agree   ment

unselfishness

un    self    ish   ness

Decoding Strategy Using a Morphological Approach

Here are some steps you can teach your students that will help them when decoding words using a morphological approach.

  • Circle the prefixes and suffixes.
  • Underline the vowels and vowel teams in the base/root word. What will the vowel(s) say?
  • Read the word in parts (morphemes or syllables).
  • Read the whole word and check/tweak your pronunciation.

Read more about how morphology analysis a great decoding strategy (and grab freebies!)

Instructional Strategy: Decoding Words with a Common Base

Another instructional approach is to use base word families. This helps with decoding and fluency. Present a list of words with a common base. Read and discuss the common base. Then analyze the list of words with the base and find (and circle) the prefixes and suffixes. Students can then more easily decode and read the words.

Teaching morphology can be a great way to help students with understanding unknown words, decoding multisyllabic words, and spelling.

To learn more about teaching syllable types as a strategy for decoding multisyllabic words, click here.

Teaching Morphology: Helps with Spelling

There are so many rules to remember when it comes to spelling. When adding suffixes to words, there can be some spelling changes for students to learn. Knowing how suffixes impact base words and learning the rules explicitly can help students become better spellers.

Example spelling rules with suffixes:

1. When you have a short vowel and then a consonant, you double the consonant before you add the suffix. Example: “beginning” or “funny.”

2. When you have multiple syllable words that end in “L,” double the “L” before you add the suffix. Example: “repelling” or “controller.”

3. Sometimes when you are adding a suffix to a word that ends in “y,” you drop the “y” and add an “i.” Example: “happiness” or “pitiful.” (There are some exceptions to this rule, like when there is a vowel right before the “y,” as in “joyful.” Or when the suffix that you are adding begins with an “i,” like in “saying.”)

4. Sometimes we change an “ie” to a “y” before adding the suffix. Example: “lying” or “tying.”

An understanding of assimilated (chameleon) prefixes will also help with spelling. Assimilated prefixes are prefixes that have the same meaning but are spelled differently to make pronouncing the word easier.

Examples: in, im-, il-, and ir- all mean “not.” The one that is used depends on the first consonant of the base being added. You would not say inregular, you would say irregular.

Teaching Morphology: It’s Engaging!

Learning morphology can be fun! Creating new words, playing with words, and discovering words are all things we want our students to do and enjoy doing. Explicitly teaching morphology and morphology activities can help with that.

Tips for Teaching Morphology

Tip 1: Start with frequently used/common prefixes and suffixes. These are the ones seen often in reading and ones that students can easily learn and remember.

Tip 2: Begin with transparent morphemes/relationships (versus opaque).

Transparent morphemes are those with clear meanings that are easy for students to uncover and even visualize. They also do not have spelling or sound shifts with the base word. Examples: happy to unhappy, swim to swimming, heard to misheard, teach to teacher, music to musical.

Opaque morphemes, on the other hand, can be harder for students to see the connection between the morphemes and the meaning. Example: exhale, grateful, and bashful. They also may have shifts in pronunciation of the base word (sign to signature) or shifts in spelling (pity to pitiful) that make it more difficult for students to “see” the relationship.

Tip 3: Teach affixes with common base words (and not root words) to begin with.

Tip 4: Teach affixes and roots early on in the school year so you can study and explore them all year.

Tip 5: The easiest way to begin morphology instruction, if you think your readers may struggle, is with compound words. Compound words are the perfect way to introduce the study of morphology with students who may struggle.

How Do You Fit Morphology Instruction In?

It can definitely be a struggle to fit in morphology and all the different aspects of it, but the payoff is worth it.

Here are some ways you can squeeze in some morphology instruction into your existing schedule/curriculum:

1. Morphology Warmups – Use morphology activities to start your small group or whole group reading lessons.

Morphology is so powerful for helping readers with vocabulary, decoding, and spelling! Morphology warmups are the perfect activity to incorporate more intentional morphology work into your existing curriculum!

2. Daily Routine – Have a quick daily routine where you learn about and practice using an affix or root. Click here to see my Grammar of the Day resources that include a Prefix and Suffix of the Day and a Root of the Day .

3. Word Study Centers/Reading Centers – If you use centers, using morphology activities in a word study center is a great way to incorporate it AND engage your students. Activities such as morphology sorts, unscramble the morphemes , and morphology word matrixes are great options for word study centers.

4. Spelling – Long gone are the days of random words on a spelling list that students have no choice but to memorize. Now, spelling is more effective when it focuses on patterns. Those patterns can be advanced phonics patterns OR morphological connections.

Want FREE Morphology Resources to Introduce the Topic?

To help you introduce morphology to your students, I have a free presentation to share.

Teaching morphology can be a great way to help students with understanding unknown words, decoding multisyllabic words, and spelling. Read more and grab free morphology activities on this post!

The presentation is broken down into sections. Choose the sections that work for your students and their current learning needs. Some sections are great for all students, and some are more advanced. Some of the sections you may skip entirely (or just use for your own learning).

  • Introduction to Morphology
  • Using Morphemes to Define Words
  • Using Morphemes to Decode Words
  • Creating New Words with Affixes
  • Spelling Changes with Suffixes
  • Shifts in Pronunciations

There are two different versions of the presentation you can choose from depending on your needs.

  • The first presentation includes much more text on each slide. It could be used as a reference for your students since it requires little additional information other than what is on the slide.
  • The second presentation has less text and requires teacher-led discussion and support to understand and practice what is being presented. This version also includes a companion guide with prompts, additional information, and guided practice

In addition to the presentation, there are also student notes and cheat sheets that go along with the presentation (or can be used separately).

To grab this free teaching morphology presentation, click the animated image below and then enter your email address in the pop-up. You’ll be able to download the resource immediately and it will also be sent to your inbox. From there you will have access to the student printables, teacher guide (for the less text version), and links to the Google Slides presentations.

Click here to subscribe

Want MORE morphology activities and resources?

Want to easily incorporate morphology into your instruction in just minutes? Try morphology warmups! Or check out the activities bundle of my favorite resources for practicing morphology in a variety of ways all year long! Digital and printable versions are included for flexibility.

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word study activities for 4th grade

Morphology Warmups BUNDLE – Science of Reading Aligned

word study activities for 4th grade

Morphology Activities for Grades 4-5 – Bundle with Digital Activities

Share the knowledge, reader interactions.

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January 22, 2023 at 10:10 pm

Thank you for all the information!

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October 1, 2023 at 9:43 pm

I love your resources! How did you decide on the sequence??

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October 3, 2023 at 12:50 pm

Hi Nicole, a few ways: – how common the morpheme was – what bases or roots the morpheme commonly affixed to. For example, the prefix con and its assimilations have a straightforward meaning. However, they affix to mostly roots so they are best for older grades. – how concrete vs abstract the meaning of the morpheme was

Thanks for asking!

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October 5, 2023 at 2:55 am

Looking for some structured word inquiry – hopefully this will be a way in 🙂

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November 21, 2023 at 3:55 pm

Hi Jennifer, I would like to receive the presentation on morphology. Thank you, Odelia

November 25, 2023 at 9:07 pm

Hi Odelia, Did you enter your email in this section: Want FREE Morphology Resources to Introduce the Topic?

The presentation will be sent to your email.

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April 9, 2024 at 6:13 pm

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myView 4th Grade Unit 4 Week1 Word Study Spelling Prefixes ANTI AUTO TRANS AMPHI

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  6. 9 Activities for your Word Study Routine

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