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Literacy Training Spring 2021 - Morphology




What: Morphology is the study of morphemes—the smallest units of meaning in our language. The morphology instruction described in the CALI Reads E-learning module addresses five critical components:

  1. Provide explicit instruction of roots
  2. Promote generative morphology
  3. Teach morphological problem solving
  4. Use contextual information
  5. Consider the words etymology

Why: The English language contains up to 1,000,000 individual words. The vast majority of academic vocabulary words contain Latin or Greek roots and affixes (prefixes and suffixes), with one root generating as many as 5-20 additional meaning related words, commonly referred to as morphological word families. The representation of morphemes within words provides important clues to the word’s meaning. Thus, effective vocabulary instruction should include explicit instruction in English morphology, prefixes, suffixes and roots. The benefits of morphology instruction include morphological awareness, use of spelling-meaning connections to derive word meaning, and word consciousness.

How: CALI Reads participants will learn how to implement the Get the Gist strategy through the E-learning module via CALI Learns.

Who: The E-learning module is available for CALI Reads Participants in spring 2021. The E-learning module will be made free to the public the following semester through the CALI Reads Learning Library.

When: Spring 2021





Anglin, J. M., (1993). Vocabulary development: A morphological analysis. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 58, Serial #238.

Apel, K. (Spring 2017). Morphological awareness development and assessment: What do we know? Perspectives on Language and Literacy, 43(2), 11-16.

Brown, J. I. (1947). Reading and vocabulary: 14 master words. In M. J. Herzberg (Ed.), Word Study, 1-4. Springfield, MA: G & C Merriam.


References for Morphology Activities

Bear, D.R., Invernizzi, M., Templeton, S., & Johnston, F. (2020). Words their way: Word study for phonics, vocabulary, and spelling instruction (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Beck, I. L., McKeown, M. G., & Kucan, L. (2013). Bringing words to life: Robust vocabulary instruction (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Guilford Press.

Henry, M. K. (2010). Unlocking literacy: Effective decoding & spelling instruction (2nd ed.). Baltimore, MD: Paul Brookes Publishing.

Moats, L. C. (2010). Speech to print: Language essentials for teachers (2nd ed.) Baltimore, MD: Paul Brookes Publishing.

Online Etymology Dictionary

Rasinski, T., Padak, N., Newton, R. M., & Newton, E. (2008). Greek and Latin roots: Keys to building vocabulary. Huntington Beach, CA: Shell Education.

Templeton, S., Bear, D., Invernizzi, M., Johnston, F., Flanigan, K., Townsend, D. R., Helman, L., & Hayes, L. (2015). Vocabulary for middle and secondary students (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

CALI Reads is a project funded by the Office of Special Education in partnership with the California Department of Education, Special Education Division. The project is coordinated and administered through the

Napa County Office of Education
1450 Technology Lane, Suite 200 Petaluma, CA 94954
Fax: 707-762-1438 | e-mail:

Napa County Office of Education
U.S. Offic of Special Education Programs
California Department of Education

The contents of this website were developed under a State Personnel Development Grant (SPDG) from the US Department of Education (CALI/Award #H323A170011), Project Officer, However, the contents of this site not necessarily represent the policy of the US Department of Education and no assumption of endorsement by the Federal government should be made.


Last updated: 01/20/2021