Morphology vs Phonics

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Most of us grew up learning to read with phonics. SH makes the sshhhhh sound and T makes the Tuh sound. That sort of thing.

I thought as long as you knew how to read, you could also spell and understand most words. I was wrong. My daughter is a natural reader but struggles with spelling. As a naturally great reader and speller I thought the two went hand in hand. Apparently not.

Morphology vs Phonics and Why it Matters for Reading and Spelling

Morphology vs Phonics

Phonics are taught to increase phonological awareness. Morphenes are taught to increase morphological awareness. You are probably familiar with it’s concepts, just not by that name. Morphenes include prefixes and suffixes and compound words.

I realized my daughter knows how to DECODE (aka read) but not to ENCODE (aka spell). I learned those are two different skills and just because you’re good at one, doesn’t mean you are automatically good at both.

So we are backtracking and teaching morphology to learn how to encode so she can spell better. But morphology helps with more than just spelling. It helps with reading, comprehension, vocabulary and more.

We used this resource from Twinkl to help with affixes (prefixes and suffixes). I printed out the affixes but instead of using the accompanying paper we used a white board.

I also learned a lot from Thrive Literacy Corner during an online conference recently. Her website has lots of blog posts on reading and spelling including morphology. She has freebies for subscribing that I will be using with my daughter next to make sure she is hearing the right amount of sounds for a word. I notice she misses whole sounds while spelling. For example Swm for swim. She missed the short i sound completely. Thrive also has an online store with lots of cool resources.

Check out the resources below to learn more about morphology vs phonics and how it is important in your home, class or homeschool.


Using Morphology to Teach Vocabulary

Morphological Awareness Tips and Activities (PDF)

Morphology in Structured Literacy Morphology Resources

Crash Course Linguistics: Morphology (YouTube)

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