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Word Walls and Word Junction: Morphemic Analysis in the Core Curriculum Alice Berecka, TAMU-CC, SISD Gay Becker, The Word Junction.

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Presentation on theme: "Word Walls and Word Junction: Morphemic Analysis in the Core Curriculum Alice Berecka, TAMU-CC, SISD Gay Becker, The Word Junction."— Presentation transcript:

1 Word Walls and Word Junction: Morphemic Analysis in the Core Curriculum Alice Berecka, TAMU-CC, SISD Gay Becker, The Word Junction

2 Word Walls: Not just for Elementary, anymore

3 What is a hemacytometer?  Compare hemophilia hemoglobin hemorrhage cytoplasm cytology

4 What is a hemacytometer?  meter =  hem = bloodcyt = cell  A hemacytometer is a device that measures blood cells.

5 What do these words have in common?  amnesia  amnesty  mnemonic

6 The answer is… Mne = memory (Greek base) Prefix a = not (also from Greek)

7 Why vocabulary?  “A well-developed meaning vocabulary is a prerequisite for fluent reading, a critical link between decoding and composition” (Joshi,2005).

8 Your Turn!  ambivalent  ambiguous  ambidextrous  valiant  valor

9 In Latin…  ambi = both  val = brave  ambivalent = undecided, seeing good points on both sides of an issue

10 The Matthew Effect  “Even though reading is a major source of vocabulary development, poor readers learn fewer words from reading than do good readers (Jenkins, Stein, & Wysocki, 1984).

11 The Matthew Effect  This is because poor readers tend to read easier materials and fewer books than do good readers.  Consequently, poor readers’ vocabularies grow at a slower pace.

12 The Matthew Effect  Students with robust vocabularies, on the other hand, read more, comprehend better, and thus read more still, improving their vocabularies.  This poor reader/good reader phenomenon is commonly referred to as the Matthew Effect after a passage in the Bible’s Book of Matthew: the rich get richer and the poor get poorer (Stanovich, 1986; Walberg & Tasi, 1983)” (p. 213).

13 The research says….  According to one review of the research, vocabulary deficiency is the primary cause of academic failure for disadvantaged students in grades 3 through 12 (Becker, 1977)

14 Comprehension  “There is no doubt that vocabulary is closely tied to comprehension— in study after study, vocabulary knowledge predicts comprehension performance consistently with positive correlations typically between.6 and.8.  Pearson, P., Hiebert, E., & Kamil, M. (2007)

15 Across the curriculum  “Vocabulary serves a core role in commercial reading programs and in other curricular areas such as science, history, or foreign language.”  Pearson, P., Hiebert, E., & Kamil, M. (2007)

16 4 Stages  Dale and O’Rourke (1971) list four stages of word knowledge: 1)I never saw it before. 2)I’ve heard of it, but I don’t know what it means. 3)I recognize it in context—it has something to do with… 4)I know it.

17 Some questions for teachers  How do we address the vocabulary deficits of struggling readers?  What can we do to counteract the Matthew Effect?  What words do we teach?  What tools and strategies work best?

18 Middle School and High School  By the time students are adolescents, most have acquired the ability to handle basic sound-symbol relationships.  BUT, they are more liable to encounter problems with morphemic units (affixes and bases) and derivational consistencies or inconsistencies as they try to use and spell polysyllabic words. (Henderson, 1990)

19 Morphemic Analysis  Morphemic analysis is the study of meaningful word parts such as compound words, roots, prefixes and suffixes.  Morphemic analysis can help low- achieving readers recognize hundreds of words (Gunning, 2006).

20 The need for morphological analysis  Study by Carlisle:  “60% of the unfamiliar words students encounter in texts they read are derived words.”  (Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 2007)

21 The Ways Words Work  “By analyzing and sorting words, searching for related words, and discovering ways words work, upper level students learns clusters of words that share a common element or origin rather than individual words by memorizing definitions.”  (Hennings, Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 2000)

22 Struggling readers  When tested on their knowledge of morphology, struggling readers knew only 15% of the prefixes, 17% of the roots, and 20% of the suffixes (Henry, 1990).  Given training in morphology, adolescent struggling readers improved in both reading comprehension and spelling (Elbro & Arnbak, 1996).

23 Working memory  Using a morphological segmentation may help struggling readers by easing the burden on working memory, because they can concentrate on one meaningful segment at a time. (Gunning, 2006)

24 G-L words  A majority of English words are built from Graeco-Latin (G-L) elements—affixes and bases derived from Greek and Latin.  Within specialized fields of study such as the sciences and humanities, occurrence of G-L words gets very close to the 100% mark.  These words are used very infrequently in everyday conversations. (Corson, 1985)

25 Incidental vs. Systematic Instruction  An incidental approach is one in which skills are taught when the need arises.  A systematic approach is one in which skills are taught on a regular, planned basis. (Gunning, 2006)

26 The advantages of a systematic approach to vocabulary acquisition  Vocabulary is given more emphasis.  This can create an interest in words.  Students are not only learning new words, they are learning strategies and habits that will foster independent word learning.  “They see the importance of a wider vocabulary, and become motivated to increase their vocabularies on their own” (Curtis and Longo, 1999, p. 37).

27 Contact Information  You can reach Alice Berecka at  You can reach Gay Becker at

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