Word Study

Path to Prefix Proficiency: Worksheets for Language Growth

Prefix Worksheets have an important role in word study. Prefixes as we know are composed of two or more letters at the beginning of words. Prefixes can be a helpful tool in figuring out a word’s meaning. Prefix Worksheets can help increase students’ vocabulary. What are some activities to engage students in understanding and using prefixes?

Sort Words by Prefixes


I start the word study lesson by briefly introducing the prefixes and then I have the students complete a word sort. The word sorts I use are part of the Words Their Way program. I currently use the Derivational Spelling stage which matches my students’ level.  The word sort is a great way for students to sort words by their prefixes. We then read the words in the sort. I also have students complete a writing sort.

Use Prefixes to figure out Meanings

After students have an overview of the prefixes; it is important for them to recognize the meaning of each word.  I use a few words from their word sort to demonstrate this. For example, untidy means ot tidy or not clean. I would ask, “What does unkind mean?”  Unkind is not in the word sort but students would apply the prefix-un to mean not so they respond, “not kind.” I do more examples for each prefix in the sort. Then, students are ready to work independently on prefix worksheets to match words to their meaning.

Match words to Synonyms/Antonyms


Another activity is to have students match new vocabulary words to their synonym or antonym. For example, a synonym for untidy is messy. An antonym for untidy is clean. We discuss more examples to check the students’ understanding of synonyms and antonyms. For example, a synonym for unkind is mean. An antonym for unkind is sweet. After we have discussed examples of antonyms and synonyms for each prefix, students are ready to match synonyms and antonyms with their new vocabulary words.

Context Clues with Vocabulary

Students are given a word bank with their vocabulary words. There are sentences with missing words for the students to fill in. Students use the context clues and fill in the vocabulary words that makes sense. This checks the students ability to use the words in the correct context. This activity works well after the students have practiced the meaning of words as well as synonyms and antonyms.

Word Search

This is a fun activity that gives students practice at spelling. Students are given a word bank and need to find each word in the word search. This focuses students’ attention on the letters used to spell the vocabulary words. To look at the variety of prefixes in the derivational spelling stage, click here. Prefix worksheets are also available for digital use with Google Classroom.

prefix worksheets
Digital prefix activities also available.

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