Greetings Teachers of Emergent Bilinguals and Happy Hispanic Heritage month! In our September series on morphological (word parts) awareness, I’ve taken you through how to teach base words and prefixes. Today we’re going to talk about ¡Reading comprehension/comprensión with suffixes!
More than that – I want to take this opportunity to show you English-Spanish suffix cognates – yes they’re the same!
Research shows: morphological awareness is a KEY predictor in boosting reading comprehension, especially in adolescents and older Spanish-speaking students.
But what’s special about suffixes?
All words parts -prefixes, roots, base words, and suffixes – are important to developing morphological awareness. Suffixes are word parts that attach to the end of a root or base word. They are special because in contrast to prefixes, they can change a word’s part of speech. For example, the suffix -ion (often taught to students as –tion with the ‘t’) changes a word into a noun, celebrate – celebration.
Parts of speech, or the syntactic categories nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs that make up sentence structure, are not routinely taught to students nowadays. When we teach students how to recognize and use suffixes to make new words, we’re not only exponentially increasing their vocabulary, but also teaching them syntactic awareness – or awareness of sentence structure.
A student can read the sentence (from Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz):
“Marisol Rodríguez, her best friend, would come with her family to celebrate.”
In this case, the reader has to understand that celebrate is referring to an action.
But if the reader sees this sentence –
“Marisol Rodríguez, her best friend, would come with her family to the celebration.”
– they need to understand that celebration is referring to a thing. Furthermore, if the reader understands that celebrate and celebration are related words, they not only expand their vocabulary, but can comprehend the different forms of the word as they may be used in the text. Understanding the order and functions of different words in a sentence is key to the reader understanding a message accurately, both within and across sentences.
¡Reading comprehension/comprensión with suffixes!
If we take this one step further – we can teach our Spanish speakers to recognize English-Spanish suffix cognates. Let’s give our Spanish speaking students this valuable tool so they can begin making bilingual connections!
Turn this into a bilingual word wall for your classroom!
construction – construción / comprehension – comprensión (note the spelling variations in both English and Spanish) (for nouns)
primary – primario (for nouns and adjectives)
universal – universal (for adjectives)
academic – académico (for nouns and adjectives)
mysterious – misterioso (for adjectives)
adventure – aventura (for nouns)
monument – monumento (for nouns)
reasonable – razonable / possible – posible (for adjectives – note the spelling variations in both languages)
density – densidad (for nouns)
independence – independencia (for nouns)
Looking for more Spanish cognates? Check out Spanish cognates.org, which lists them by suffixes!
Teachers, don’t forget to post questions or comments below! ¡Hasta la próxima!
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