The effects of teaching roots and affixes on the vocabulary development of underperforming students

Recent STAR testing results show that California students are not performing well on the English/Language Arts portion of the examination (California Department of Education, 2008). Many underperforming students, including English Learners, have difficulty with the plethora of unfamiliar vocabulary words found in such examinations, as well as in their regular schoolwork. Since these students have to pass the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) to graduate from high school, they need to be taught strategies that will assist them in decoding and comprehending foreign vocabulary words. The skills they learn in K-12 education will help students have successful futures. Information was obtained through the program and coursework as well as research of the pertinent and relevant literature. Other data was collected through the observation and testing of two junior high school English classrooms. Results of a pre and posttest suggested students who were given explicit instruction in roots and affixes performed better than those who did not receive explicit instruction. Results also showed students responded well to games and activities meant to motivate them to academic success.