To understand prefixes best, tell your child that some words are made up of a base word and a special beginning called a prefix. For example, the word untie is a word made up of a prefix and root (base) word. The prefix is “un” which means “not”. The root word is “tie”. Therefore when put together, the word means not tied. Prefixes come at the beginning of words and change the meaning of the base word.
To understand suffixes best, tell your child that some words are made up of a base word and a special ending called a suffix. For example, the word hopeful is a word made up of a root (base) word and suffix. The root word is “hope”. The suffix is “ful” which means “full of”. Therefore when put together, the word means full of hope. Suffixes come at the ends of words and change the meaning of the base word.
Have your child look through a book for words with prefixes. Encourage your child to write down the words on a piece of paper. Have them read the word. As they do this, tell them to underline the base word and then circle the prefix. Have them notice that all of the prefixes are found at the beginning of the words. This exercise can be done with suffixes too. Have children notice where each suffix is located.
Have your child look up prefixes in the dictionary. Children can find the meaning of each prefix. Encourage them to make a list of the prefixes that they find. Have them look over other entry words that are found near the prefix. For example, after the entry for the prefix “re-“, children will find words such as rebuild, redo, etc.
To help your child keep track of the many prefixes and suffixes, encourage them to make a list as they read or go about their day. Have them keep a journal. On one side they can write “prefixes” and on the other side they can write “suffixes”. As they come across examples of each, they can add them to their list.