Word Study

Suffix Success: Engaging Worksheets to Boost Vocabulary Skills

A suffix is one or more letters that are found at the end of a word. In the word, “cautious” the root word is caution and the suffix is ious. Cautious means full of caution. Recognizing the root word and suffix will help improve students understanding. Suffix worksheets can give students extra practice and improve their vocabulary use.

Sorting Words

Students cut and sort words by their suffixes.

The first step when studying suffixes is to sort words based on their suffixes. This draws attention to the endings of words. It also gives students the opportunity to examine which words are alike. Sorting words can be done by cutting out words and gluing them in the correct column on the suffix worksheets or by using reusable laminated words and charts.

Suffix Worksheets -Parts of Speech

In the above suffix worksheet, students learn about how the suffix changes the part of speech.

An important part of word study is knowing how to use the vocabulary words. Suffixes often change the part of speech. For example in the sentence, The popular boy is going to the mall, popular is an adjective. Add “ity” to “popular” and you have “popularity”. For example in the sentence, The internet soared in popularity within the last year, popularity is a noun. Even though “popular” and “popularity” have the same base word, the suffix changes the part of speech. Understanding the part of speech improves student comprehension when reading.

Meanings of Suffixes

Word study involves recognizing the root words and suffixes. Students need to think about how the suffix impacts the meaning of the word. For example, students are familiar with the root word, slow. What does the word slowly mean? It means in a slow way which serves as an adverb in the sentence, The dog chewed slowly. A key question to help identify adverbs in sentences is “How?” In this particular example, “How did the dog chew?” Again understanding the placement of adverbs and their functions helps students understand the sentence structure. When students have a better understanding of sentence structure, then their comprehension at a sentence level improves.

How do suffixes support comprehension?

The ultimate goal of reading is to understand what we read. Word study is a critical part of improving our reading skills. Beginning readers start by reading picture books with words and then progress to books at the sentence level. As text becomes more complex, the words become multisyllabic many of which have prefixes and/or suffixes. If students’ don’t understand how these words add detail or fit into the sentence, then their comprehension will be impeded. Their fluency or need to reread the text would be required when they lack understanding. Word study needs to be part of literacy instruction.

You may also be interested in reading the blog post, Prefix Worksheets can Strengthen Vocabulary


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