4 Fun Ways to Teach Prefixes

Many important language arts standards must be taught for students to be successful readers and writers. Oftentimes, those standards can be a bit dry for students to learn. And by that, I mean boring! So, as teachers, it’s our job to come up with creative ways to make learning more engaging for our students. If you need some new ideas for teaching prefixes, you’ve come to the right place!  I have 4 activities to show how to teach prefixes in a fun way that both you and your students will enjoy!

Teaching prefixes is fun and easy with these 4 engaging activities your students will love!

Why is Teaching Prefixes Important?

Before I jump into the fun and engaging ways to teach prefixes, you’ve got to understand why it’s important! Students can improve their reading, vocabulary, spelling, and writing skills simply by studying prefixes. When you explicitly teach your students the concept of prefixes, they build their vocabulary and begin to understand new words and what they mean. When students understand the meanings of words with prefixes, their reading comprehension begins to improve. They can move on to more complex thinking while reading such as noticing character traits and making predictions.

Help your students expand their vocabulary while you teach prefixes with these fun and engaging activities they will love!

Not only does their reading improve, but students’ spelling and writing skills improve as well! Knowing prefixes allows students to spell correctly because they understand the spelling patterns of those prefixes. Building students’ vocabulary through prefixes also helps students write more descriptively and express their ideas more easily.

So let’s talk about how to teach prefixes in a fun way!

Use Interactive Notebooks for Teaching Prefixes

I absolutely love using Interactive Notebooks in my classroom, and my students love them too! If you haven’t heard of Interactive Notebooks before, then simply imagine each of your students having their own hand-made learning journal. The notebook is filled with anchor charts that use foldable pieces and paper pockets that contain learning manipulatives. Students can use each page to review the information and activities inside any time they need a refresher on a standard. That’s an Interactive Notebook, my friend – and they are amazing!

Every year when I begin teaching prefixes, I always start by using Interactive Notebook activities. They are the perfect way to directly instruct my students about what each prefix means. I also like to share examples of words that use each prefix so that students can recognize that words they already know contain prefixes! We also complete a hands-on activity to help students understand how to correctly use each prefix.

Interactive notebooks like these are not only great for teaching targeted concepts but are also perfect for some engaging hands on learning your students will love!

In my Prefixes Interactive Notebook resource, you will find engaging activities that help your students better understand prefixes! Activities such as:
  • foldables to brainstorm prefix word lists
  • pockets with prefix word sorting cards
  • liftable flaps for word definitions
  • cut and paste cards with example sentences
  • liftable flaps for sentence examples
  • puzzle piece sorting activity
You will not regret using Interactive Notebooks to teach prefixes to your students! Not only will your students be engaged by the cutting and gluing aspects of these activities, but keeping all the information in one place means that students can review this information any time they need to.

Utilize Posters When Teaching Prefixes

Once you have explicitly taught each prefix, you need to keep those prefixes front and center so your students won’t forget them! The easiest way to do this? Display your prefixes for all to see!

Create a bulletin board or dedicate some wall space to hanging mini-posters for each prefix. The posters I use are printer paper sized, so they are small enough to fit several in one area but large enough to be seen from anywhere in my classroom. These posters are perfect as they each focus on one prefix, and contain the prefix meaning, example words, a picture of the word’s meaning and an example of the word in a sentence.

Using mini-posters like these in your classroom will help your students remember important details about each of the prefixes you are focusing on.

Not only do I display these premade posters, but I have my students make a “fill-in” poster to supplement each premade poster! To make these fill-in posters, students simply:
  • write as many words as they can think of that use this prefix
  • write the definition of the prefix
  • choose one of the brainstormed words to write in a sentence
  • give the definition of the word from your sentence
These fill-in posters could be created by individual students as seat work or you could allow students to make one with a partner or in a small group. They are an excellent way to help cement the meaning and usage of prefixes and engage your students at the same time! And. . . students can glue them into their interactive notebooks too!

If this activity sounds right up your alley, check out the exact resource I use with my students! My Prefix Posters with Prefix Fill-Ins resource is available in my TPT store!

Prefix Centers are a Great “Next Step”

Students have been explicitly taught prefixes and have reviewed them with posters, so… now what? Well, in my classroom, “now what” means practice. Lots and lots of practice! I love allowing students time in centers to practice the skills I have taught them.

When you teach prefixes it's important to give your students lots of opportunity for practice, and pages like these are perfect for prefix practice during center time!

One great way to easily incorporate centers into your day is to use my Re, Un, Pre, Dis, Mis Prefix Centers resource! This all-in-one, print-and-go pack has everything you need to set up a prefix center without any stress. You’ll find premade word cards, sorting pages, fill-in-the-blank sentences, a deconstructing words activity, and color by code pictures.

You could choose to complete a few examples together as a whole group before moving on to centers or just jump right into centers. No matter how you choose to use it, this Prefix Centers resource is exactly what your students need for a fun way to practice prefixes. Check it out here in my TPT store!

Games Make a Great Prefix Assessment

Alright, you amazing teacher, you! All of your hard teaching work has been worth it! You’re confident that your students “get” prefixes, so let’s see what they can do! A test, you say? Not necessarily. Sure you could give a test, but you could also assess what your students know with a fun cut-and-glue game!

I love using alternative ways to assess my students and this Skills Swirl Cut and Paste Prefix Activity totally fits the bill!

When you teach prefixes, turn it into a game with a fun activity like this DIY gameboard!

Students are given a “game board” with arrows for the spaces as well as a page with words and definitions (or sentences). Students must match the definition to the correct word (for grade level students) or sentence that matches the word (for above grade level students). They will cut out that game piece and glue it to the game board. 

The game works like dominoes where each piece connects to the piece before it. When students glue game pieces to the board, it makes a “swirl” on the paper until they get to the center of the page.

My kids love this game, and yours will too! It’s perfect for an assessment, but definitely could be used in centers, partners, or small learning groups. A different activity like this makes learning fun for your students and teaching prefixes so much more fun for you!

Wow! Teaching Prefixes Can Be Fun!

See there? I told you teaching prefixes wasn’t so bad! If you’re ready to have some “Prefix Fun” in the classroom, be sure to head on over to my TPT store where you will find each of the resources from this post.

In fact, I have an incredible money-saving Prefix BUNDLE that has all 4 resources together in one place! Be sure to check it out for the best deal possible!

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Ready to teach prefixes in your classroom this year but don't know where to start? These 4 fun ways to teach prefixes are not only easy but are sure to be instant favorites in your classroom! From center activities, to posters, to games, your students will love learning all about prefixes. Grab all of these activities and more in the prefixes bundle for fun and engaging prefix activities you can use all year long. Teaching prefixes has never been so easy! Try it out today! #elementaryisland #prefixes #teachingprefixes


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