Graphic Morphemic Analysis strategy

The  Graphic Morphemic Analysis strategy  is an approach to word learning that will
help readers unlock the meaning of new and challenging words by analyzing the meaningful parts within a word. A morpheme is the smallest unit of meaning within a word.
Most of us know morphemes as root words and affixes or prefixes and suffixes. When
teachers employ morphemic analysis, they help students see more than just the parts of
words. Rather, they lead students to examine the word for its meaningful parts, which will lead them to discover the word’s meaning. The Graphic Morphemic Analysis strategy employs a systematic approach to deconstructing a word into its meaningful parts
(morphemes) to figure out what the word means through the use of a graphic. Similar
to morpheme triangles (Winters, 2009) and morpheme circles (Harmon, Wood, &
Hedrick, 2006), the Graphic Morphemic Analysis strategy helps students use a visual
analysis of the word to deconstruct it and construct meaning from word relationships
and contextual meanings. Utilizing graphics as part of the strategy provides readers with
a visual adjunct that helps them see the meaningful parts within the word in isolation
for a systematic analysis.
Why is morphemic analysis important to vocabulary development? There are a num-ber of studies that show the relationship between vocabulary and comprehension.
Additional research by Kieffer and Lesaux (2007) demonstrates the relationship of
comprehension and morphemic analysis by elementary students as well as English lan-guage learners in a large urban school district. As students move through the grades,
they are expected to read more complex texts that have an increasing number of deri-vational words (Nagy & Anderson, 1984). Thus, it makes instructional sense to provide
students with a cognitive strategy to learn new words from complex texts.
What are some guidelines for using effective morphology instruction with students?
Kieffer and Lesaux (2007) draw from research to present the following four principles
for effective instruction in morphemic analysis: (1) Teach morphology in the context of
rich, explicit vocabulary instruction; (2) teach students to use morphology as a cognitive
strategy with explicit steps; (3) teach underlying morphological knowledge in two
ways—both explicitly and in context; and (4) for students with developed knowledge of
Spanish, teach morphology in relation to cognates (pp. 139–142). Many words from the
content areas have cognates, or words derived from languages other than English.


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