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Part 2: Teach, model, define

These whole-class approaches, activities and practice examples can help children understand the meaning of different affixes, such as auto- and circum-, and how they can support spelling.

Explain that one of the reasons that the English language is so interesting is that there are many other languages threaded through it. Many prefixes and suffixes derive from the Germanic (old English), Latin, French and Greek languages. Understanding the meaning of these affixes will support spelling.

  • Ask the children if they can work out the meanings of auto- (self), circum- (round), tele- (distant) and trans- (across). How many words can they find in two minutes, using each prefix?
  • Ask the children if they can think of words meaning small. Introduce affixes that mean small: -ette (from the French), mini- (from Latin minimus), micro- (from Greek meaning tiny), -ling (from old English meaning to have a certain quality, as in weakling, as well as meaning little).