Lesson 5: Suffixes (developing morphological knowledge)

Links to the Victorian Curriculum – English

English, Reading and Viewing, Language: Phonics and word knowledge

Level 2: 

  • Learn some generalisations for adding suffixes to words (VCELA217)

Links to the Victorian Curriculum – English as an Additional Language (EAL)

Pathway A

Reading and viewing

Level A1:

  • Recognise some common letters and letter patterns in words (VCEALL051)

Level A2:

  • Use knowledge of letters and sounds to read a new word or locate key words (VCEALL132)

Pathway B

Reading and viewing

Level B1:

  • Use knowledge of base words to read new forms (VCEALL285)

Theory/practice connections

While it is crucial for writers in the early years to use phonological and graphological knowledge to spell words, they can also use morphological knowledge as well. As suggested by the Overlapping Waves Theory, students are capable of using a range of strategies from a young age, although phonological strategies may be used predominately in the early stages of learning to write (Oakley & Fellowes, 2016, p. 61).

Learning intentions

We are learning to build new words by adding different word endings or suffixes.

We are learning that suffixes can change the form or meaning of a word.

Success Criteria

I can build a new word by adding different endings or suffixes to a base word.

I can describe the different meanings/forms of a word with different endings or suffixes.

Role of the writer

Text encoder: analysing words according to meaning and pattern

Group Size

Whole class, or small group (4-6 students).

Lesson Sequence

  1. Reread the picture book aloud to students for pleasure.
  2. Draw students’ attention to lines,

  3. 'but it might be more fun,’ said Trevor to Pig,
    ‘if we both played together…'

    To revise previous learning, ask students to identify the word that contains /ay/ sound – played

  4. Write word on spoke of word wheel on whiteboard or poster paper. Ask students to find smaller word inside played – write play in centre of word wheel
  5. Ask students to build other words using play as base word and adding other endings. Add these words to word wheel, for example, playing, plays, player. Discuss how endings or suffixes change the form of word from present to past tense or meaning from verb play to noun player – someone who plays.
  6. Students can create own word wheels independently, either in pairs or individually using other base words from text or from the chart from previous lesson. Remember to include irregular verb forms as well, for example, say – said and talk about how whole word changes here to mark past tense. Compare this example to play – played.

ABC Education Literacy Mini Lessons

The Department collaborated with ABC Education to create a series of videos. All 16 mini lessons based on content from the Literacy Teaching Toolkit are available on the ABC Education literacy mini lessons page.


The teacher can select base words according to identified needs of students. Teacher might also provide prefixes and suffixes on prepared cards so students can mix and match cards to see if new words can be made. Students can also work in pairs or small groups to allow for support from others.