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Morphology: What Is It and Why Do We Teach It?

In the continuum of reading and writing skills taught in the Hill program is an understanding of morphemes in words. Morphemes are the smallest units of meaning in words, often coming from Latin and Greek roots.

“Direct instruction of morphology is an effective means to help with understanding and applying word structure for decoding, spelling, and vocabulary study (Wilson, 2005). Specifically, students can be taught strategies to segment or manipulate words according to their affixes and roots. As a result, students may be able to recognize an unfamiliar word simply by identifying the affixes and the remaining base word or root (Carreker, 2005).” Teaching Morphology: Enhancing Vocabulary Development and Reading Comprehension - Mary Stowe, M.Ed.

Teaching students to understand that tele means “across a distance” and gram means “written” will help them to apply this to not only the word telegram but also to other words with these two morphemes, e.g., telescope, telephone, hologram, cardiogram.

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