Upper Level Word Study References

Here are resources to explore morphology, etymology, and vocabulary.

1. Robinson, Sandra R., with Lindsay McAuliffe (1989). Origins, Volume 2, The Word Families. NY: Teachers & Writers Collaborative

Students deepen their understanding of roots, stems and word families in these lessons. There are many activities for intermediate-age students as well. This is because of Robinson and Lindsay’s explorations of sound and meaning in consonant blends and digraphs. Reminds me of Walker Percy’s discussion of the meaning of these sounds in Message in the Bottle.

In Volume 2, Robinson and root trees and lesson plans, poems, and other materials are provided for these 12 word families:

byl             BHEL          to swell                           bowl, boulder, balloon, belly

dr               DHREU       to fall                             drip, drop, drowse, droop

gh              GHEIS        fear or amazement     ghost, poltergeist, goblin, aghast

cr               KER            bent, crooked               cramp, crouch, creep                   

gl               GHEL          to shine                         glow, gleam, glimmer

fl                FLEU          to move like water      fly, flight, float, flow

mid            MEDHYO   middle                          middle, mediator, mediate,

cl                KEL             to hold onto; to hold together     clip, clamp, clam, claw

wr              WER           to twist, bend, turn     wrestle, wring, wrist, warp

tw              DWO          two                              two, twelve, twilight, duet, double

tr               DERU         to be firm, solid, stead  truth, trust, tray, endure, duress

OINO                           one                                    one, alone, lonely, lonesome

Start with a template of a tree. Students fill in the root tree templates found both in this book and in Vocabulary Their Way,  found in searches for Images for trees on the web, or students sketch a tree with branches.

Students use word study references and the resources online for words with the same root and meaning.  For example, here are words that can be added to a root tree for KER and cr:

Can students make the meaning connection between “crooked or bent” and these words?

KER: creep, crouch, crumble, cringe, cramp, crooked, cringle, crochet, creek, cradle, crinkle

Robinson suggests pantomiming these movements to see how we are bent when we creep, crouch and crumble. So smart and useful for expression.

We discuss how to examine roots and use etymologies in print and online in Vocabulary Their Way, 2nd ed. and Words Their Way, 7th ed.

Word Study for Phonics, Vocabulary and Spelling