Word Findings #1

    by Freddy Hiebert | March 14, 2007

    Phoneme and phonological awareness have had a center place in education over the past decade especially. To close the vocabulary gap, morphological awareness is also critical. Morphological awareness refers to recognizing the presence and of morphemes (the smallest meaning units in language) in words. An example of morphological awareness is knowing that the meanings of the following words are related: create, creation, creative, creator, recreate.

    Kuo and Anderson (2006) summarize research that shows that morphological awareness makes a difference in decoding of morphologically complex words and to comprehension of text. As students move through the grades, morphological awareness increasingly predicts students’ reading.

    Kuo, L., & Anderson, R.C. (2006). Morphological awareness and learning to read: A cross-language perspective. Educational Psychologist, 41 (3), 161-180.


    1. Kuo and Anderson’s conclusion that morphological awareness is related to decoding of morphologically complex words is important to consider as a factor into the problems that students have, especially beginning in grade 4. What forms of instruction are in place in your educational units to ensure that students develop workable multisyllabic-word recognition strategies?
    2. Much of morphology instruction focuses on prefixes and suffixes. However, it is the root word (e.g., create above) that conveys the most meaning for students. Instruction needs to emphasize morphological families (such as the create family above). Where have you found support for instruction on critical morphological families?