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Welcome to issue #8 of  Words Matter. Please feel free to share with a friend! 

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Content Area Literacy - Part 2


Last week we talked about the concept of

Content Area Literacy, or "reading to learn" in all content areas. We observed that, unfortunately, reading levels measured in schools place a large percentage of students in the Frustration Level reader category  and many schools don't have the time or resources to devote to the vocabulary development that will lead to the needed improvement.


At Dynamic Literacy, we believe morphology is the key to the vocabulary acquisition necessary for students to achieve success.  Morphology dates all the way back to Sanskrit, but its use in teaching English was pioneered by Catholic Nuns in the 1950s.  Here is the scientific formula that expresses the systematic nature of English:

word = (prefix) + root + (suffix)

The parentheses indicate that those parts are optional.  A root might stand alone, such as dog, place, or shine, or it may require a prefix and/or suffix to make a word, such as equate or decompose.
Why is using morphology a better approach to vocabulary?  If I've studied the root FORM and in so doing combined it with the prefix TRANS in the word TRANSFORM, I have a leg up the first time I see the word TRANSFUSE. If I've studied the root FUSE, even if TRANSFUSE didn't come up, I can infer the meaning "to pour across" from the meanings of the pieces. If I happen to be seeing this for the first time on the SAT, I can look for a definition that contains the keywords "across", "pour", "mix", or "blend."

It is this approach of learning the pieces of meaning that are the foundation for so much of English that makes it possible to acquire an enormous vocabulary without having to memorize all the words.

Morpheme of the week:  The prefix RE

Enjoy this brief video that comes directly from WordBuild Foundations Level 1. 
The prefix RE
The prefix RE

We'll be in Orlando next week for the FPEA convention. Please drop by booth #616 and say hello! 

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Jerry Bailey
President & CEO
Parents & Home Educators 
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