Prefixes and Suffixes

Listen to this song

Teaching Tips for Prefixes and Suffixes

Now, children formally learn that prefixes come before base words, while suffixes come at the end of words.

• Write common prefixes and suffixes along with their meanings on word cards, a poster, or a bulletin board. Teach in whole-class/small group lessons, and include cards in a prefix-suffix center. These are some common prefixes used in the song:

mis: wrongly (Misspell means to spell wrongly.)
re: again (Retell means to tell again.)
un: 1. not 2. opposite of (Unprotected means not protected. Unscrew means opposite of screw.)
pre: before (Preschool means before school.)

These are some common suffixes from the song:

_ful: full of (Cheerful means full of cheer.)
_ly: characteristic of (Quickly means being quick.)
_y: characterized by (Cloudy means characterized by clouds.)
_est: comparative – the most (Nicest means the most nice.)
_less: without (Painless means without pain.)
_er: 1. comparative – more 2. one who (Taller means more tall. Teacher means one who

• List words containing prefixes and suffixes. Do the spellings of the base words change? Discuss and sort the changes in terms of rules we have already learned.

• Note that prefixes often modify the meaning of a base word. Suffixes do not usually change the meaning of the base word; they give variations on the same idea.