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This Week’s Episode: How to Target Prefixes and Suffixes

So far in this month’s podcast series we’ve targeted basic concepts, as well as some comparatives and superlatives with our preschool students. We tackled plans with our early elementary that focused on targeting object function, categories, antonyms + synonyms, and describing. Last week we targeted multiple meaning words with our later elementary students.

You’ll notice that our vocabulary goals for this week are similar to last week, with less of a focus on multiple meaning words and more time spent on prefixes and suffixes.

We’ve taken the vocabulary research and embedded it into the literacy-based framework, to create a super functional application that blends the best of both evidence-based worlds. You can find great visuals listed under strategies + tips! Don’t forget to save them for future references! 🤓 😍

P.S. For more on our vocabulary intervention framework, bop on over to this blog post: How to Teach Vocabulary: A Framework.

Strategies + Tips Discussed

Literacy-Based Therapy Framework
Vocabulary Intervention Framework

A Helpful Link

SLP Now Evidence Table

Here’s what we discussed:

[2:15] Therapy Ideas for Step 1 (Pre-Story Knowledge Activation)
[5:15] Therapy Ideas for Step 2 (Reading)
[5:17] Therapy Ideas for Step 3 (Post Story Comprehension)
[6:05] Therapy Ideas for Step 4 (Skill Practice)
[7:42] Therapy Ideas for Step 5 (Parallel Story)

Want to hear more about this topic? Click here to see this month’s content!

Links Mentioned

The SLP Now One-Page Literacy-Based Therapy Unit Planner
– ReadWorks Article: The First Earth Day
SLP Now Membership (You can find the KWL Chart, graphic organizers and WH questions that we talked about here!)
Wheel Decide

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Speaker 1: Okay. So let's dive into some secondary vocabulary plans. Our vocabulary goals for this week are the same as last week, and last week we focused primarily on multiple meaning words. So this week we're going to hone in a little bit more on affixes or prefixes and suffixes. And the article that we're using is a non-fiction text from ReadWorks called The First Earth Day. And if you want to plan along, head to You'll just enter your name and email, and we'll send you a interactive planner like editable planner. You can plug in the title of the texts that we're using. You can plug in your students' goals and then plan out the activities for each step of the literacy-based therapy framework. So without further ado, we'll dive into our plans.
So again, we're using Dr. Ukrainetz's five-step literacy-based therapy framework, and we're embedding all of the vocabulary research that I've come across into this framework. So there is a separate framework for vocabulary intervention and in these episodes, I'm just combining the two to put it into a super functional context. So just to recap the texts of The First Earth Day and the goals that we're focusing on are prefixes and suffixes, but we can target any number of goals. And if you want ideas for multiple meaning words, et cetera, et cetera, check out the previous section.
So for step one, we'll dive into pre-story knowledge. So with this, I like to do an article walk. We'll pull up the article, we'll look at the title, we'll look at any pictures, and we'll skim through the text. And I like to have students fill in a KWL chart. It's a graphic organizer where they fill in what they know about the topic, what they want to know and then afterwards, we can go back and fill in what they learned. And depending on how the article walk and the filling in the graphic organizer goes, I will use my clinical judgment to decide if we want to do a virtual field trip. So in this case, we might watch a video about the history of earth day, for example, if they end up needing additional background information.
Another activity that I like to do for this age group especially when it comes to prefixes and suffixes is to pre-teach the vocabulary. So assuming that the students have been introduced to prefixes and/or suffixes and that they know what they are that is definitely a precursor, I would identify the prefixes and suffixes that I want to target. And this is largely based on just the students' progress overall where we decided to focus on just which target makes the most sense. And then we can go through and introduce the prefix and or suffix. I have a bunch of affixes activity pages that I like to pull into their vocabulary journal so we can identify the prefix or suffix to find it. And then we can go through the article and identify the words that have that prefix and/or suffix, add it to their vocabulary journal page. And then by the time we dive into the article, they'll know a lot of the vocabulary that they need to access that article and just to have it makes sense.
And then after we do that, I might have them fill in a graphic organizer to infer what the main idea is and what the key details are. This is a really great language activity. It again gives them an opportunity to use some of their vocabulary words. And I get super, super excited and definitely reinforced when students use those words. Because as I've said a million times already, a lot of our students need upwards of 40 meaningful exposures to really integrate new words into their vocabulary. And so if they're motivated to really find ways to use those words and refer to their vocabulary journals and try to create sentences, I think that's really awesome. And sometimes I'll give them little tallies and we can see who gets the most exposures and they get a kick out of that.
But then, so we fill in that graphic organizer. Again, it's an opportunity for me either to model the use of the target words or an opportunity for the students to use them. And then for step two, we just read the article, keep that pretty simple, and that brings us to step three, where we do some story comprehension.
So at this point, I'll ask a combination of literal and/or inferential questions. One, because many students tend to have comprehension goals. And then it's also just another opportunity to embed the target vocabulary words, because that's what we're all about getting lots and lots and lots of exposures. And then for another activity is to actually fill in, like after we actually read the texts, we can fill in the summarizing graphic organizer. We can identify the actual main idea and compare it to the main idea that we thought. It would be like our inferred main idea and then also the key details. We can create sentences from that. We can use our key vocabulary words and then again, just more and more opportunities to use that word.
And then that brings us to step four, where we focus on focused-skill activities. So I would again review the skill as needed. So I have a visual that introduces each vocabulary skill. So we review that as needed and then we continue working on the vocabulary journal. So each like this particular unit has several vocabulary pages to go with it. And so we can pull all of the multiple meaning word pages. We can pull all of the prefixes and suffixes and pull those pages from the skill packs and add in the words that I identified for all of the prefixes and suffixes and we do just a number of activities. And because we're often targeting more than just vocabulary, we're often targeting grammar and language as well so we can embed this vocabulary in any number of activities. And if you need additional ideas, definitely go back and check out the previous podcast episodes.
But I shared this last week, one of my favorite activities. If I really just need, if everyone is working on vocabulary and we just need to get a lot of drill, I love creating little wheels like digital wheels and adding in the target, the vocabulary targets. And then I either have students to find the word using them in a sentence, acted out, dried out, any number of fun-engaging activities, just to give them more meaningful exposures to that vocabulary target, and then we just get in as much practice as we need.
And then we get to step five, which is the parallel story. And because this text is a non-fiction text, the activity looks a little bit different. If they haven't already written out sentences for the summary of the story, our summarizing skill pack has a graphic organizer that helps them write out a summary. So I'll have them do that and that's often not the most exciting activity. So I look at the dynamics of the group and decide what would be motivating for them, but a lot of students are aspiring YouTubers. So we either create a YouTube video and we don't actually post it on YouTube and I asked for parent permission. But we might record a video and pretend that we're creating a YouTube video or a newscast or just something related to the topic.
And sometimes we just read off the summary. Sometimes we do a spin off and create something else, which gives us even more exposure or more opportunities to create those sentences and embed those vocabulary words. So I just kind of follow the dynamics of the group and the level that they're at and what is appropriate to build that all in.
So that's a wrap on our secondary unit with a focus on vocabulary, and I hope that was super helpful.


Hi there! I'm Marisha. I am a school-based SLP who is all about working smarter, not harder. I created the SLP Now Membership and love sharing tips and tricks to help you save time so you can focus on what matters most--your students AND yourself.

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