Developing vocabulary skills, not just memorizing lists of vocabulary words, is an important part of any education, in home school, public school, or private school. If teachers give their classes (made up of one student or thirty) an understanding of how words in our English vocabulary are put together and what the parts of the words mean, they will give their students skills to attack new words.
Prefixes, at the beginning of words, and suffixes, at the conclusion of words, give students a great deal of information about new vocabulary words. As they learn more words, their skills (like any practiced skills) will improve, and they will find that they do not have to make so many trips to the dictionary – or to the online dictionary sites.
Prefixes that affect meaning for home school and any school
Prefixes, coming at the beginning of words, shape the meaning of the vocabulary word. If students learn that bi- means two, and tri- means three, then they have a handy tool for attacking words such as bicycle, tricycle, bilingual, and trilingual.
I wrote these four articles to focus on the meaning of prefixes and how that meaning affects the whole word.
How to Increase Your Vocabulary with Fractional Prefixes – Can You Increase Your Vocabulary by Half?
How to Increase Your Vocabulary with Numerical Prefixes – Can You Triple or Quadruple Your Vocabulary?
Increase Your Vocabulary with Negative Prefixes – Can You Not Increase Your Vocabulary?
Increase Your Vocabulary with Prefixes with Opposite Meanings – Don’t Be Opposed to Learning New Words
As a sometime English teacher, I know that these articles could be boring, so I tried to make them fun for students or teachers who would be using them. Here are questions about some fun facts you can take away from these articles. Consider this a pretest (a word which illustrates the use of a prefix.)
How many tails does a hemidemisemiquaver note have? (Answer here.)
Why does the name of December, the twelfth month, refer to ten (as in decimal)? (Answer here.)
Would you diss a dystopia or a utopia?
Would you ask your sweetheart to give you a bilabial implosive? (Answer here.)
Prefixes from Greek and Latin for home school and any school
Another way to study and learn prefixes is to learn about their origins in other languages. Although I referred to the origins of the prefixes in the previous articles, in these two articles, I concentrate on the origins.
Increase Your Vocabulary with Latin Prefixes – Latin Lives in English Words
Increase Your Vocabulary with Greek Prefixes – Learn Your Prefixes, and English Doesn’t Have to Be Greek to You
Here are a couple of fun questions about these prefixes. By the way, I had a great deal of fun with the article on Greek prefixes, since I associated it with the Olympics and the exploits of Michael Phelps, which I watched on television. (There’s a Greek prefix for you.)
What is the difference in diet of an omnivore, carnivore, and herbivore? (Answer here.)
Which Greek prefix provides a link between actor Keanu Reeves and designer Bill Blass? (Answer here.)
Suffixes for home school and any school
In English, we tend to emphasize, stress, or accent the beginnings of words, and so, we often will slur the ending. English often uses a distinct vowel, called the schwa, symbolized with [ə], in unaccented syllables, such as i in pencil or o in lemon.
So, we cannot rely on suffixes to shape the meaning of words, as prefixes do. But, learning suffixes is an important part of vocabulary study and word attack, because they indicate the function or part of speech of the word in the sentence, as the titles of my articles on suffixes indicate.
How to Enhance Your Vocabulary with Adjective Suffixes
How to Enhance Your Vocabulary with Noun Suffixes
Improve Your Vocabulary with Verb Suffixes
More vocabulary resources for home school and any school
The best English language dictionary site that I have found on the Internet is OneLook, which is a starting point for accessing over a thousand online dictionaries, with quite a few search options and other settings. As you use the site, you may find that there are certain specific dictionaries that you prefer, and so you may bookmark and go directly to those.
Of course, the best way to develop vocabulary is to use it in reading and writing, speaking and listening. The Internet gives us a library of 28,000 free books at Project Gutenberg in plain text. If you have a Kindle, you can access a great many books at Munseys in the MobiPocket or Kindle format, as well as in many other formats.
I maintain a listing of my articles on English, some of which you may find of use or interest, at “English for the Fun of It” (here). You can access my Associated Content articles here and some of my earlier articles here.
Thanks to my fellow Associated Content writer (or source) freakmamma for pointing out that some of these articles would be appropriate for home school. I hope you will visit her index page (here) to enjoy and learn from her writing.
For twenty years, I taught in a public school, and for six years, I was education coordinator at a theme park, where I worked with many home school families. I was impressed that, regardless of their reasons for choosing to home school, home school parents took advantage of many resources on the Internet. So, although I feel that these articles would be appropriate for any educators, following freakmamma‘s suggestion, I am emphasizing their appropriateness for Internet-savvy home school educators.