Prefixes and Suffixes

Decode multisyllabic words in context and independent of context by applying common spelling patterns including: using knowledge of common prefixes and suffixes using knowledge of derivational affixes.

Third Grade Affixes
  • re- (again – repeat, rebel, redo, rewind)
  • non- (not – nonsense, nonexistent, nonstop)
  • dis- (not – dislike, disjointed, disappear)

  • pre- (before, prior to – pretest, preview, premier)
  • un- (not – untie, undo, undress)
  • -er (one who, that which – dancer, boxer, computer)
  • mis- (bad, wrong – misstep, mistake, misadventure, misbehave)

Introducing Prefixes and Suffixes:

Objective: Students will be able to read words that have prefixes and suffixes.

  • List on the board clearly, unclear, cleared, and clearing. Have students choose what “anchor” word shows up in the words. Discuss root word with students and its meaning. Circle the root word on the board then underline the prefix/suffix in the words and discuss the new meaning of the word. Then put nation, national, nationality on the board and have a student come up and circle the root word. Then choose a student to underline the suffix.

  • When reading words that are not familiar to us, we can break a word up by root/prefix/suffix to understand the meaning of the word in context. When reading a book for resources or fun it is important to understand the words to understand the context fully.

  • Discuss the meaning of the following prefixes and suffixes: pre- (before, prior to – pretest, preview, premier) un- (not – untie, undo, undress) -er (one who, that which – dancer, boxer, computer) mis- (bad, wrong – misstep, mistake, misadventure, misbehave)

  • Make a chart or have the students make a chart in their Reading Response Journal with the various prefixes and suffixes. As they come across words in their reading this week, have them add it to the chart.

Prefixes and Suffixes Lessons:

  • Make/Write several root word cards (i.e. pretty, place, place) and make several cards with prefixes and suffixes. Place the root words in a column on the board and discuss the roots meanings. Place all of the prefixes and suffixes in a group on the board. Have students add prefixes and suffixes to the root words and discuss the meanings each time a new word is created and how the prefix and suffix changed the roots meaning.

  • Divide into thirds a sheet of paper or journal into thirds. In the first column at the top write “prefix”, the second column have them write “root”, and in the third column write “suffix”. Write these words on the board: discovery, friendly, unfriendly, and composer. Have students write the prefix, root, and suffix in the appropriate column for each word. Go over correct answers and have students check their work and discuss how the prefix/suffix changes the root words meaning.



  1. Crystal Castle - Prefixes hold the key to building the castle and making it light up.
  2. Flamingo - Form a flock of flamingos with suffixes -y and -ly.
  3. Prefixes - choose correct word to complete sentences.
  4. Prefixes - Using dis - or un - write the meaning of the word, then write a sentence using that word.
  5. Prefixes Make New Words - Drag and drop the prefixes to complete the words correctly.
  6. Prefixes Say Plenty - choose the word that best completes the sentence
  7. Roots and Prefixes - Matching game to learn definitions for prefixes.
  8. Success with Suffixes - fill in the blanks with words ending in "er."
  9. Suffixes - Use your knowledge of suffixes to match words to definitions.
  10. Suffixes Make New Words - Drag and drop the suffix to the correct root word to make a new word.
  11. Suffix practice - practice sheets to print [click on a red dot]
  12. Suffixes Say a Lot - pick the best definition of the capitalized word
  13. Suffix-ly - [this page opens in a new window] use simple strategies to determine meaning and increase vocabulary for reading, including the use of suffixes. (Author - Lois Davis)
14. Prefix and Suffix dictionary



Teacher Observation, formal common assessment later on in the year. Use one of the activities in the expository lessons for a teacher assessment.