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Ideas for Targeting Prefixes & Suffixes in Literacy-Based Therapy

Semantic activities focus on learning new vocabulary and/or thinking about words and their relationships.

Semantic skills include:

  • Learning vocabulary in or related to the story

  • Synonyms & antonyms

  • Associations

  • Categories

  • Describing

  • Words with multiple meanings

  • Basic concepts (e.g. qualitative, spatial, temporal)

  • Comparatives & superlatives (e.g. big, bigger, biggest)

  • Prefixes & suffixes

💡 Here are nine fun ideas for targeting prefixes & suffixes! 💡

prefixes and suffixes semantic activity ideas

1️⃣ Find a word in the text with a prefix or suffix to discuss. Explicitly teach the meaning or the prefix/suffix. Give students examples of additional words that use the prefix/suffix.

2️⃣ Give students a sentence that includes the root word and a blank for them to fill in the prefix/suffix (e.g. I never __obey the rules). Give choices to choose from.

3️⃣ Give students a list of words that have the target affix/suffix. Have them determine the meaning of each word by 1) identifying the root 2) identifying the affix/suffix 3) determining the meaning of each. (e.g. retry: affix "re" means again and try means to try = to try again)

4️⃣ Select a prefix/suffix featured in the text. Give students a root word and the meaning of the target affix/suffix. Have students determine the target word by putting together the root and affix/suffix.(e.g. target affix "re": heat again = reheat, play again = replay)

5️⃣ Create anchor charts/reference posters for affixes/suffixes. Have students create their own drawings or pictography that represents the meaning or the affix/suffix

6️⃣ Matching/Scavenger Hunt - match prefixes/suffixes from the story with their meanings. Have students write them on scraps of paper and then you can hide them around the speech room for students to search for.

7️⃣ BINGO - have students make their own bingo boards and play bingo. You can also make boards, reread the story, and have students see if they can identify words with the target prefixes/suffixes

8️⃣ Create a word tree or train! Use sticky notes or scraps of paper to visually create a tree (trunk = root word, branches = prefix/suffix) or train (connect a train car in front of the root car for prefixes and behind for suffixes)

9️⃣ Play Jeopardy using the free website After the student identifies the word, have them use the word in a sentence.

I hope this has been helpful 💛

about the author Sarah


Ukrainetz, T. A. (2006). Contextualized Language Intervention: Scaffolding Prek-12 Literacy Achievement (1st ed.). Pro Ed.


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