Roots, Prefixes, and Suffixes

Marzano and many researchers discuss the importance of vocabulary instruction. Vocabulary is one of the key indicators of student success and direct vocabulary instruction gives you a great “bang for your buck.” A study of Greek and Latin roots with prefixes and suffixes allows readers to unlock many more words than isolated vocabulary lists. These websites will help to reinforce structural analysis of words. has games designed for grades 3-12. The three levels of roots each contain two part. The site also has a similar prefix  and suffix option also designed in three levels. It takes a little navigating, but after clicking around you can find leveled games, a variety of which will use the same word list/skill.

The following list contains games for students at the elementary level to practice with roots, prefixes, or suffixes:


Base Word Baseball--In this game, appropriate for early readers, students are given a base word with three potential endings. The word is read orally and the student selects the correct suffix, resulting in a “hit” in the baseball game. After ten hits a student is given a short reward game then promoted to the next level which contains new suffixes. This is an easier game than the other choices and is good for students learning to listen for ending sounds.

Spelling Match-This activity is appropriate for older readers.  Houghton Mifflin lists it as 7th grade. It uses words such as compromise, visualize, arrogant, and immense. It is a match game where students match the incomplete word with the correct prefix or suffix.

Jigword Is a matching game with common prefixes.

BBC–In this activity students add prefixes or suffixes to create new words. There are four with prefixes, four with suffixes, and two where the student is required to add both. Students click through the affixes until they find the one they believe is correct. When they submit their answer a screen will verify their answer and give them a definition of  the prefix.


Fishin Fixes–Click a fish with a root word then click a basket with a suffix or prefix the creates a new word. If an answer is incorrect, a shark eats the fish and points are lost. To make the game more entertaining, sometimes coins appear in the river and canoe caught for extra points! There is a mute option for silent play. (The song can become annoying!)

Short Circuit-In this game you are working to restore power to Maggie’s communicator. It begins with directions and a short intro to prefixes and suffixes. The object is to match the words on the left with the words on the right using the circuit board. Turning on the power button at the bottom of the screen and if the answer is correct the power increases while an incorrect answers burns out a circuit. There are four levels of play.

Match Word–This is a traditional memory game for two players. Students click to flip two squares. The goal is to match a prefix with the meaning. If a student is able to match correctly, they receive another turn. If not, their opponent plays.

Practice With Prefixes–Students practice adding basic prefixes to words. It begins with a short explanation of prefixes, including an example and lists 5 common prefixes and their meanings (pre-, dis-, post-, in-, and un-). Players drag the correct prefix to the front of the target word. It is an exercise and not a game.

Enjoy English Free--This is an electronic worksheet, not a game. Students type the prefix under the picture. When they have finished there is a self-check button which gives a percent correct. There are two pages, a prefix page and a suffix page.

Try the sites to give your students independent practice!

Need additional resources? Try these available from my TPT store.

Note:  Clicking on the title will redirect you to the product for sale.

Learn 10 common Greek and Latin roots to help students unlock vocabulary. Understanding roots help students to prepare for standardized testing and gives them skills to independently improve their vocabulary. The unit begins with a whole class activity to introduce how knowing roots can help to unlock words. Next are reference pages listing examples for each of the roots. Students complete a worksheet where they brainstorm words which contain each of the 10 roots. An independent practice page has students match the roots with their definitions. Another page asks students to complete words by inserting the appropriate root.  Next the class completes an activity of “I have, who has” where they listen to their classmate and determine if they have the card for the identified root.  A comprehensive root test includes recall questions (matching words with definitions) and application where students use words in context.

Knowledge of Greek and Latin Roots help your students unlock hundreds of words and prepare for standardized tests. Students will use 10 roots in a variety of ways to enhance mastery. Handouts give students multiple words using each root. Students complete graphic organizers designed after the Frayer model to give them practice with each of the roots. A class bingo-style game gives students practice using approximately 40 words containing the target roots. Students have independent practice using a crossword puzzle, a matching exercise, and words in context. The unit concludes with a comprehensive test.

Teach your students how prefixes drastically change the meaning of words and allow readers to unlock many new words and add them to their vocabulary. The first page in this unit is a list of 10 prefixes, their definitions, and example words using each prefix. In the next activity, Pick a Prefix, students work in pairs trying to identify more words than their opponent using the prefix on the task card. Cards are included in for a whole class game called Guess the Prefix. A crossword puzzle provides independent practice. Cards are provided for “I Have, Who Has” activity, reviewing all of the prefixes. That unit concludes with a comprehensive test. Part One of the test involves matching the definitions with a prefix. Part two of the test requires application and using the prefixes in context.

Combine Prefix and Roots 1,2 for a bundle which will give your students lots of power to unlock words.