Discovering personal greatness in pre-school through grade 8 students - Burlington, Vermont

Teacher Talk: Latin and Greek Word Roots Program

October 29, 2020

Mater Christi School third-graders begin the Latin and Greek Roots Challenge each week by first reviewing the previous weeks’ roots. They then see and hear each new root and its definition. Once the root is revealed, students begin brainstorming as a class the words that they already know with the given root. As they share these words, they offer their sense of what it means and how it is connected to that particular root. Throughout the week, whenever they encounter these roots — whether during math, science, religion, personal reading time, or even at home — students share their discoveries with their classmates and add to our list of constructed words. In addition, students complete a variety of writing exercises in which they are putting together (constructing) and breaking apart (deconstructing) words, using the meanings of these roots. It’s easy to see and hear their vocabulary skills building in a fun and natural way.

Jenn Coulter
Grade 3 Teacher

Fifth graders are enjoying this new approach to understanding word meaning. Through repetition and exploration, they are learning to look within each word for the roots that will “decode” the meaning. They start each week by brainstorming words that include that week’s three roots. As the week goes on, they practice defining words and deconstructing words that they see in the challenge activities. More and more, students are starting to notice the important role each root plays in the words around us. By the end of the year, there is no doubt that their collective vocabulary will have grown dramatically. What a creative and innovative way to strengthen and enrich language skills!

Glenda Bedard,
Grades 4/5 Teacher