The Importance of Morphology to Reading and Spelling
Phonemic awareness is a finely tuned sensitivity to how words come apart into their smallest units of sound (phonemes). Synthetic phonics teaches how graphemes (units of spelling) represent these sounds in writing. Alongside these non-negotiable prerequisites to literacy, learners must also develop a keen awareness of how words are made up of their units of meaning called morphemes. This is where morphological awareness comes in. Words build up and come apart in ways that alter their meaning. This affects a word’s function in text as well as spelling. This area of word study is known as morphology.
Online Word Cracker interactive morphology tool
The Word Cracker clearly illustrates complex multisyllabic words are formed from simple parts – base words or roots and affixes.
Using the Word Cracker, teachers and students can easily manipulate affixes, roots and bases to see how changing morphemes can change the meaning of the word and how it works around other words.
As well as developing grammatical understanding, this process supercharges vocabulary development as students rapidly build their lexicon from known words to more morphologically complex derivatives of these words.
Word cracker includes a suggested progression and sequence for teaching morphology in the classroom.
Our member’s section has detailed lesson suggestions that provide everything you need to teach morphology successfully.
Classroom Teachers with a basic grasp of morphology and suffixing spelling rules can use the Word Cracker to teach and review morphology and grammar concepts with entire class groups, with students working at tables or on the mat using Individual Student Word Cracker worksheets or whiteboards.
Using the word cracker for intensive tier 3 intervention
Wordcracker membership provides a summary of the Playberry™ spelling rules that relate to suffixing and offers guidance about how the Word Cracker can be used to teach and revise these rules.
Although this summary is directly related to the Playberry™ program, the similarity in scope and sequence between most high-level intervention programs means it is a valuable sequence of important spelling suffixing rules for anybody teaching morphology and spelling.
What our users say
The online Word Cracker has been useful, particularly when teaching to the whole class.
As a Year One teacher, it has been a tool which I have used as a part of my literacy routine to explicitly introduce morphology at a foundational level.
The beauty of the online wordcracker is that it is easy to use and quick to access using IWB. The wordcracker lines up with the wordcracker training and resource book allowing me to use it to explicitly teach both morphology and relative spelling rules to the whole class with ease.
The pre-set board setups have been fantastic as it allows me to quickly setup the board ready to teach a given spelling rule for example dropping the e when adding a vowel suffix. Not only has this been time saving for me as a teacher but also it allows for quick review of rules taught.
The students love the online wordcracker and even in a Year One classroom. We often find ourselves exploring roots and their morphology and how adding different suffixes and prefixes can make multiple different words.
I am currently building this into my explicit literacy block and the wordcracker means that I can access some morphology quickly using a familiar resource (the wordcracker). This means I can quickly expose students to new learning and reveiw this through the week which I have found has been the most effective way of addressing morphology at a foundation level.
Jared Centenera, Saint Ignatius College, South Australia
This year was an amazing one working with my Year 2s who love the Word Cracker sessions in our Daily Review.
We are an MSL school and we also incorporate other ways of teaching Reading and Writing. The students are using their learnt MSL skills and applying these when using prefixes, suffixes and base words. I have been including Word Cracker in our lessons predominately for exposure and the children always want to learn more about prefixes and suffixes they have not learnt yet.
For example, one of our Words of the Day was ‘grace’. The students then wanted to workshop how to separate the part of the word for graceful and gracefully and then came up with ungraceful, and ungracefully, and it even extended to using -ness. This then went off on a tangent to ‘messy, busy’ and they remembered when we incidentally learned about dropping the y to add /i/ to add -ness when we had these as irregular words.
They have become stronger readers and spellers as they have been using the Word Cracker PD. It is such a valuable resource, even at this younger level. I ended up taking the middle primary Word Cracker whiteboards and was using them with the Year 2s.
Elenor Pletsias, Oakleigh Primary School, South Australia