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Action Steps

1. Give students a daily notebook assignment in which they write out a grid like the one used in this module's Guided Practice exercise "Word Families," as illustrated below. In this way, students can build their own records of Noun/Verb changes, Noun/Adjective changes, and Adjective/Adverb changes associated with word roots such as path, ann, dict, etc., and thereby learn from morphographic representations of whole classes of interconnected words and meanings.

Noun, Verb, Adjective, Adverb
sym…..y, sym…..ize, sym…..etic, sym…..etically
…..uity, …..ualize, …..ual, …..ually
pre…..ion, pre….., pre…, pre…..ably

2. The type of handout shown below is useful for homework practice for morphographic analysis and also serves as a handy, organized reference sheet for future study. Students can use the format to keep their own reference sheet for word study. They can indicate which words they know or don't know; they can analyze the words into morphographs, identifying prefixes, roots, and suffixes; and they can record the meanings of words. All vocabulary words in the sample list are taken from the text Word Roots (Glazier, 1993).

Vocabulary Word, Morphographic Analysis/Meaning
1. atheist, a=not /THE=God /-ist=person "someone who does not believe in God"
2. amoral
3. anomalous
4. anemia
5. anecdote
6. anomaly
7. anonymous
8. apathy
9. ambiguous
10. ambivalent
11. biannual
12. centennial
13. antagonism
14. ambidextrous
15. anonymous
16. atypical
17. anarchy
18. superannuated
19. antedates
20. ambivalent

 3. Spend part of each class day (only up to five minutes or so) pointing out common word roots that occur in the natural course of events in class. (See Paul, 1998.)

4. Be aware that even college-level deaf students may not have completely mastered the common inflectional suffixes. Ideally, students should regularly review one of the following suffixes in a meaningful context (see Gaustad, Kelly, Payne, & Lylak, in press).

Inflectional Suffixes
-s, noun plural
-'s, noun possessive
-s, verb present 3rd person singular
-ing, verb present participle/gerund
-ed, verb simple past tense -en, verb past perfect participle
-er, comparative
-est, superlative

5. At each opportunity, point out the visual regularity of morphemic changes in words and the meanings these common changes have within words. Regularly have students point them out to one another (Kelly, 1993, 1996).

6. In class, encourage students to discuss words and their etymologies (origins) in context at least once a week, so students can learn the discourse of word knowledge acquisition (see Davey & King, 1990).

7. Try to label "parts of speech" (noun, verb, adjective, etc.) for target words so students become familiar with the differences in meaning when words change from one part of speech to another. When time allows, ask students to provide sentence-length examples of these words and have them label the words appropriately.

8. Spend class time teaching students to break words into their immediate constituents and ask them to pay attention to the root or base of target words so that they can learn to recognize these roots in other words and in other contexts. It is useful to have students bring in examples from other situations, be it classwork or readings outside of class (Marschark & Harris, 1996).

9. Do not be afraid to analyze words in a regular, methodical way as an example for students to practice developing their own skills. Then follow up by getting students to share their own analyses.