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Prefix/Suffix: Build a Word

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Lesson Type: Build Mastery
Grade: 2, 3
Group Size: Pair, Small Group
Length: 10 minutes
Goal: Given a root word, students will decide if a prefix or suffix can be attached to it.

Materials: Build a Word Game Board (print here), index cards, game player pieces

What to Do


Print a Build a Word game board for each group. Divide students into groups of two to four.

Create a deck of six cards for each group. The cards should have the prefixes re-, bi-, or un-, and the suffixes -ing, -s, or -er, on them, and either the number two or three.


1. Review the root words on the game board.

Today, we will learn more about prefixes, root words, and suffixes by playing Build a Word.

2. Choose a student to help you model how to play the game. Complete each step together with the class.

First, we will put our game player pieces on Start. Next we will make a pile of cards, face down. Then we will choose who will go first.

With the student, place game pieces on Start. Have the student go first.

It is (student’s name)’s turn. (Student’s name) is going to pick the top card. If the card says one, (student’s name) will move one space. If it says two, (student’s name) will move two spaces.

Allow the student to move the game piece.

Now, (student’s name) will look at the prefix or suffix on the card. Does the prefix or suffix on the card and the word on the space that (student’s name) landed upon on the game board make a word? If so, (student’s name) will say the word out loud and get to stay on that space. If not, (student’s name) will have to move back one space.

Now, it is the next person’s turn to take the top card from the pile.

Continue playing until someone reaches Finish!


4. Have students play Build a Word.

Now, it is your turn to play. Remember to say the word out loud if you build a word.

5. Walk around the classroom to monitor the students’ performance on this game.


For Advanced Students:

When these students have finished playing, ask them to look at the words on the board and the prefixes and suffixes on the cards and see if they can make any additional words.

For Struggling Students:

Ask these students to write down each word that they make on a sheet of paper. Have them circle the prefix or suffix.

For ELL Students:

ELL students may need an explanation of the meaning of the root words before adding a prefix or suffix.

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