I have been teaching kids with dyslexia for many years now. I have always been dedicated to the Orton-Gillingham (OG) methodology and I have watched as child-after-child went from not being able to read to becoming a reader! This growth is truly awesome to watch and even more powerful is experiencing the child's self-confidence blossom as they learn they are not stupid because they can in fact read, learn and quench their curiosity.
Despite this success, I learned a few years ago that I was missing a huge piece to my OG lessons! I was shocked that I was leaving out what would soon become my most favorite piece of reading instruction - morphology, or what I like to call Magic Morphology! Sure I taught adding vowel suffixes to silent-e words means you have to drop the e, or that adding -s makes things more than one, but I wasn't explicitly teaching it in each and every session!
Now, when I look at morphology I see it as magical because when you explicitly teach morphology in a sequential and thoughtful manner there is so much to be gained. I tell each of my students there are three important things to think about with prefixes and suffixes; first, we always read them the same way so, if you see pre- as a prefix we will always read it the same. Second, we always spell them the same so if you hear /pre/ as the first syllable in a word go ahead and spell it p-r-e. Lastly, these affixes give us meaning! This is the best part because this opens up so many words that previously may have felt too difficult for the student.
My older students take to morphology right away because it immediately makes their reading instruction feel more sophisticated, and my younger students love it because when we brainstorm words with a particular prefix or suffix I let them make up silly words and they love it. For example, I may be teaching the prefix un- and I will ask my student to brainstorm some words with un- at the beginning. For younger students coming up with this off the top of their heads is very difficult, so i ask them to look around and just add un- to anything around them. They may say unchair or unpencil and then we define these silly words. Quickly they will create a super silly word with this new prefix and they will want to draw a picture to define it for you! This is meaning, memorable and fun.
With the Smart ALEC curriculum, we have added morphology into every lesson at the intermediate level and we go into a deep dive of higher level morphology with the advanced level. Adding this explicit and thoughtfully presented study of morphology into my reading intervention has been a game changer. This opens up so many doors if you work in small groups or even in the classroom setting because you can have morphology exploration be part of the child's independent word study and this will be fun and immensely meaningful to them.
Whether you are a reading interventionist, an SLP, or a classroom teacher adding morphology in a structured and sequential manner will add so much to your reading instruction that I promise you too will be calling it magical!
The Smart ALEC team