Engaging Activities for Teaching Root Words, Prefixes, and Suffixes

Activities for Teaching Roots, Prefixes, and Suffixes

Are you looking for ways to make teaching Greek and Latin root words, prefixes, and suffixes more fun for your students? The activities, strategies, and ideas described in this post are engaging and effective! 

Why Teach Greek and Latin Roots, Prefixes, and Suffixes?

According to the Journal of Educational Research, more than 60% of all English words have Greek or Latin roots. The percentage increases as students progress to more complex texts. Reading comprehension significantly improves when students can identify the different parts of a word, including the root, prefix, and/or suffix. Click here to read more about improvements that come with roots and affixes instruction.

Get a free printable PDF of 120 commonly used root words, prefixes, and suffixes! The list also includes the meaning of each word part and several example words. It’s a great place to start if you want to add word parts instruction to your curriculum. 


Introduce or review the concept of root words, prefixes, and suffixes with videos. Students need to understand the purpose and meaning of a prefix, root word, and suffix before diving into the individual definitions. You can use any of the videos below to help students establish a strong foundation for learning. 

Teacher Bonus Tip: Use a KWL chart to assess understanding before and after introducing students to root words, prefixes, and suffixes. 

🎬 Head, Body, Tail | Nessy Reading Strategy

🎬 Latin & Greek Root Words | MiaAcademy Learning Channel

🎬 Latin & Greek Roots and Affixes | Khan Academy

🎬 Prefix or Suffix? | The Bazillions


Picture books are another effective way to introduce or review the concept of root words, prefixes, and suffixes. Discussing each word part as it appears in the story will reinforce learning. The books below are perfect for class read-aloud. They include rhythm, rhyme, and unique illustrations!

Teacher Bonus Tip: Pair the picture book with an anchor chart to make the activity more impactful.

If you were a prefix children's book

If You Were a Prefix

by Marcie Aboff

If you Were a Suffix

If You Were a Suffix

by Marcie Aboff

Why picture books? 

📚 Contextual Learning: Picture books put the root words, prefixes, and suffixes in the context. Seeing these elements in action will help students remember and apply them when reading and writing.  

📚 Visual Engagement: The colorful illustrations in picture books make the content more memorable and engaging. The pictures also help students connect the meaning of the word part to its visual representation.  

📚 Rhythm and Rhyme: The rhythm and rhyme patterns in picture books makes learning more memorable and enjoyable.

📚 Differentiation: Using picture books to teach roots and affixes can make learning more accessible and effective for a diverse group of learners.

Prefix Picture Book


Taking a break from traditional learning methods to play games creates an engaging and fun learning environment. Students will be more likely to participate and retain information when motivated and excited. Use the games below to have fun while reviewing root words, prefixes, and suffixes. 

BINGO: An easy way to set up Word Parts BINGO is to have students create their BINGO cards. Make a list of thirty (or more) roots, prefixes, and suffixes on the board. Students choose 24 word parts from that list to fill up their BINGO card, leaving a free space in the middle of the card. To play the game, randomly read definitions of the thirty word parts you listed on the board. If students have the root, prefix, or suffix matching the definition, they can mark that square off their board. Ensure students fill up their cards in a different order than the words listed on the board. We don’t want them to all have BINGO at the same time!   

Greek Roots Prefixes Suffixes BINGO Card

Memory: Students can play this game independently, in small groups, or pairs. Each game needs a set of word part cards and corresponding definition cards. The object of the game is to find matches (word part and definition). Players take turns turning over cards two at a time, trying to find matches (word part and definition). If they don’t see a match, they turn the cards back over, and it’s the other team’s turn.  

Around the World: Around the World is a fun game that gets students up and out of their seats. It incorporates flashcards and memory, so it works well for reviewing the word parts students have learned. This website does a great job of explaining how to play. Be sure to scroll down to read the Around the World in the Classroom description.  

Root Words, Prefixes, Suffixes Free Unit

“Fantastic resource! I had my students select a card each week, and we spent the week learning the prefix/root/suffix using the corresponding worksheet. The worksheet was beautifully designed and required little preparation from me.” -Gabrielle 

As students become more comfortable identifying roots, prefixes, and suffixes, you can teach them to be word detectives. A word detective looks at all the clues to determine a word’s meaning. When students know how to decode large words by identifying root words and affixes, they will be sufficiently prepared to tackle higher-level texts. 

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FREE! 120 Commonly Used Roots, Prefixes, and Suffixes

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Engaging Activities for Teaching Root Words, Prefixes, and Suffixes