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Introduce: The Prefix over-

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Lesson Type: Introduce
Grade: 2, 3
Group Size: Pairs, Small Group, Large Group, Whole Class
Length: 15 minutes
Goal: Given the prefix over-, students will generate and use words that contain over-.

Materials: Board or chart paper

What to Do


Write the prefix over- on the board or on a piece of chart paper for the students to see.


1. Introduce the prefix over- and solicit examples of words that contain over-.

Today we are going to learn about prefixes. Who knows what a prefix is?

2. Allow time for students to respond.

A prefix is a word part added to the beginning of a word. It changes the meaning of a word. Over- is a prefix that is used in many words. Overwork, overslept, and overdo are all words that have the prefix over- in them. Do you know of any other words that have the prefix over-?

3. As students share, write the responses on the board or on a piece of chart paper. Circle the prefix over- in each word as it is given.

4. Define the meaning of over-, as well as words containing the prefix over-.

Look at the list of words with the prefix over-. Who knows what over- means? Over- means “too much.” Look at overwork. Overwork means “to work too much.” When the prefix over- is added to work, it changes the meaning of the word. Can anyone tell us what overslept means? What about overdo?

5. Solicit the meanings of the remaining words from the first step.


6. Connect words to students’ prior knowledge. Ask students a variety of questions to help them connect their experiences to the words in the list generated in the first step. For example:

When do you feel overworked?

Have you ever overslept?

Can anyone use overdo in a sentence?


For Advanced Students:

Encourage these students to use each word on the class-created list in a sentence.

Explain how the parts of speech may change when a prefix is added. In the case of the prefix over-, however, both the root word and the word with the prefix added are verbs.

For Struggling Students:

For the students who have difficulty understanding what a prefix is, try presenting the word list above as a series of math equations. For example:

  • over + work = overwork
  • over + react = overreact
  • over + do = overdo

For ELL Students:

Point out that some of the same prefixes may exist in their native language. If the prefix is not the same as in English, there may be an equivalent in their native language.

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