Do your students need a quick vocabulary boost? Teach them Greek and Latin roots! Over 90% of subject-specific vocabulary words are derived from Greek and Latin words. Once students are familiar with the meanings of common Greek and Latin roots, their informational text comprehension will skyrocket!
Have you noticed your students struggling with content-area reading? This is because they are not actively trying to infer word meanings. Unfortunately, this is not a habit that will serve our students well, especially as they get older! Spending a few minutes a day going over Greek and Latin roots is so important. Unlocking the meaning of just a few word roots will increase their vocabularies by hundreds of words!
While I am a self-proclaimed “word nerd,” I knew my students were not thrilled to learn about word roots. Therefore, it was important to plan fun activities to grab their attention! Here are some classroom-tested ideas that will make Greek and Latin roots an engaging topic for your learners:
Hunting for Greek and Latin Roots
Display a “Root of the Day” and have students look for words with that root all day long. They might find words on signs or posters in the classroom, around the school, in books they are reading…you get the idea! Have a space set aside on your whiteboard where students can write down their words (they can place their initials next to each word they write). At the end of the day, go over the word list and allow the person who found the most words a small prize. It can be something simple like being the line leader the following day. This activity shows students that words with Greek and Latin roots literally surround them!
Once your students are familiar with several different Greek and Latin word roots, give them time to practice matching roots to meanings. This is a great center or small group activity. Grab a stack of index cards, writing the roots and their meanings on separate cards (if you are a tech guru- you could create a digital version instead). Shuffle the index cards and lay them out face down in a grid format. Pairs of students can take turns flipping over cards to see if they can make a match. If they do, they can keep the cards. If not, they flip the cards back over. This classic game will help students drill down those root meanings!
Students sit in a circle. Find an object (the sillier the better!) to pass as the “hot potato.” Play music while students pass the object around the circle. When the music stops, the student holding the object needs to come up with a word using the Root of the Day. Fun twist- have the student to the left or right give the definition of the word, or use the word in a sentence. This is a fun whole class game that will keep everyone on their toes!
I’ve created a FREE poster set of common Greek and Latin roots for your classroom. They are perfect for your Root of the Day routine, or as a go-to bulletin board for your students to reference.