Simple Activities to Teach Greek and Latin Roots


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Did you know over 60% of the words in the English language are derived from Greek and Latin roots? Learning about word roots is one of the quickest, most effective ways to boost a child's vocabulary. In this blog post I will share several ways you can seamlessly incorporate teaching about Greek and Latin roots into your daily instruction!

Before we begin, though, let's quickly go over WHY it is so important to have your students become familiar with Greek and Latin Roots. Here are just a few reasons:


  1. Great way to build vocabulary: let's start out with the obvious! By learning the most common Greek and Latin roots, your students are on their way to cultivating impressive vocabularies. Your students will also practice making connections between different words- once they know the meaning of one root, it will unlock the meaning of many different words!
  2. Improved spelling: studying roots helps students learn similar letter patterns. By being exposed to these patterns repeatedly, they will improve their spelling.
  3. The ELL advantage: many Greek and Latin roots are also cognates in English and Spanish. By highlighting the meanings of different roots, you will be greatly helping out your ELL students!
  4. Increased understanding of informational text: If you thought it was amazing that 60% of English words are derived from Greek and Latin roots, check this out- that number JUMPS when you look at scientific and technical terms! Over 90% of subject-specific words are derived from Greek and Latin. Once your students start learning the meanings of all the different roots, their comprehension of informational text will skyrocket!

If you've been struggling with ways to incorporate learning about Greek and Latin roots during your instructional time, here are 3 low- or no-prep suggestions that you could use in your classroom TODAY:


1. Whole Group- Root of the Day 

There are many ways to implement a "Root of the Day" in your classroom. Here are a few ideas I've used in the past:
  • Display a root and discuss it during your morning meeting or at the beginning of your ELA block. (Who has seen this word root before? Can you think of any words that use this word root?)
  • Have students keep a journal. Each day they can add the new word root and a list of words featuring that root.
  •  Have a friendly competition! Display a word root and have students try to find words with that root throughout the day. Provide a small incentive to the winner (such as picking out the next GoNoodle video)!
This is such an easy way to make sure your students are exposed to Greek and Latin roots! I've put together a FREE set of Greek and Latin roots posters to help you get your Root of the Day routine started. Sign up below to grab them!

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    2. Center- Graphic Organizer

    Have you considered incorporating a Greek and Latin Roots center to your rotations? It's simple to set up- all you need are dictionaries (if using an online dictionary- Collins is my go-to!) and some graphic organizers. You can grab a FREE Greek and Latin Roots graphic organizer from my TpT store!



    My favorite centers are the kind that I don't have to change out week after week. Imagine all the new words students will learn as they vist this center every week!


    3. Independent- Boom Cards

    The best way to familiarize students with Greek and Latin roots is to expose them to the different roots as much as possible. A great way for students to dig deeper into word roots is with Boom Cards! Never heard of Boom Cards? Check out this page for more information. Boom Cards are highly interactive, digital, self-checking task cards. You can assign different Boom "decks" to your students and even receive reports on how they did! Students love Boom Cards and will play the decks over and over again, which is perfect for providing that exposure to Greek and Latin roots!

    My Greek and Latin Roots Boom Card decks each feature 6 Greek and Latin roots. Students learn the meanings of each root, and then sort words based on the different roots. At the end of the deck there is a quick vocabulary check and even an open-ended response, so you can see exactly what your students have learned after completing the deck.

    You can find out more (and even preview the deck) by clicking on each link below:


    You can also save 30% by purchasing all 4 decks in the Greek and Latin Boom Cards Bundle:




    How will you incorporate Greek and Latin roots into your daily instruction?

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