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Spelling Words Correctly Using Prefixes

Main Core Tie

English Language Arts Grade 4
Reading: Foundational Skills Standard 3 a.

Time Frame

1 class periods of 15 minutes each

Group Size

Large Groups


Karen Bosone
Julie Lee
brooke rauzon


This strategy will focus on the prefix "re-" to help predict the meaning of words. The same strategy can be used to introduce other common prefixes such as "dis-", "in-" and "im-".


Dictionaries and Vocabulary Notebooks for extension.

Background for Teachers

Know that a prefix is a word part that comes at the beginning of a word, and that "re-" means again or back.

Student Prior Knowledge

  • Students should know that a prefix is a word part that comes at the beginning of a word.
  • Students should have knowledge of base words.

Intended Learning Outcomes

The students will have:

  • Ability to identify the meaning of simple prefixes.
  • Ability to use knowledge of prefixes to predict the meaning of words.

Instructional Procedures

This is a mini-lesson.


  1. Remind the students that a prefix is a word part that comes at the beginning of a word.
  2. Tell the students that you're going to name some words that begin with the prefix "re-". (Say the words and write them on the board).
  3. Say the words:
    • reread
    • rerun
    • rewrite
    • redo
    • remake
    • or any words of your choice
  4. Ask students to generate "re-" words of their own by adding the prefix to action words (verb) and write these words on the board. Silly words are acceptable.
  1. Print the prefix "re-" on the board and say it aloud.
  2. Tell the students that it means again or back.
  3. Use the words that you wrote during brainstorming and underline the prefix "re-".
  4. Identify the base words.
  5. Point out that the word "rewrite" that it means write again.
  6. Go back to the words that were written in the Brainstorming activity and a couple of the students words. Discuss the meaning of each word (prefix and base).
    *Some words will be non-examples, such as rest or ready.
  7. This would be a good time to tell students that the letters "r" and "e" in a word are not always a prefix.
  8. Print the following sentence on the board, underlining the word remake:

    My mom asked me to remake my bed.

  1. Say, "I see the word "remake" begins with "re-", which can be a prefix that means again or back. If I take "re" away from remake, I have the word make, which means to put something together."
  2. Say "Now I'll try one of the prefix meanings in a sentence. Make again makes sense in this sentence. My mom wants me to make my bed again."
  3. Print the following sentence on the board underlining the word rest.

    We worked so hard, we needed to rest.

  4. Remind students that the letters "r" and "e" together in a word are not always a prefix.

    Example: If I take the "re" away in rest, they aren't left with a word. So "re" in rest is not a prefix.

  1. Tell students that they should always use context clues and what they know about prefixes to get the meaning of the word.
  2. Ask pairs of students to practice the "Think Aloud" using the following sentences and underlined target words.
  3. After practicing, call on pairs of students to share their "Think Aloud's" with the whole class.
Example sentences:
  • The bird reappeared with a twig.
  • I want to replay my favorite movie.


  1. Encourage students to look for examples of words with the prefix "re-" in the texts they are reading. Tell them to bring the examples to class together with the sentences they found them in. Students should explain how they arrived at a word's meaning. Dictionaries could be used to check accuracy.
  2. Students might want to use common prefixes to invent silly words. They can write the definition, draw pictures and make it into a book.


Adapted from Core Teaching Reading Resource by Honig, Diamond, and Gutlohn.

Created: 08/02/2005
Updated: 02/05/2018