Structural Analysis

Structural Analysis


McLaughlin (2010) includes structural analysis in a chapter on teaching vocabulary in the content areas. She states that by helping learners with word analysis, they can reach the main goal of vocabulary learning which is to be able to determine the meaning of the word when encountered. Edwards, Font, Bauman, and Boland (2004) refer to this idea as morphemic analysis. They view morphemic analysis as a tool to help learners "unlock" word meanings. The guidelines below have been presented by Edwards et al. to help teachers with the most important instructional features of structural analysis. 


  1. Explain to students what structural analysis is and how it works. Make sure they understand it as the process of separating words into roots and affixes and knowing how each of those parts contributes to the meaning of an individual word. 
  2. Use word families/derivatives to demonstrate the concept and importance of the root word. This will help students to be automatic about recognizing familiar roots in unfamiliar words. example: cycle, monocycle, bicycle, tricycle, unicycle, cyclic
  3. Encourage students to look at word parts outside the confines of regular instruction--times like independent reading. 
  4. Remind students that structural analysis may not work 100% of the time.  
  5. In addition, regular classroom study and discussion of root words and affixes would be ideal. 

Websites with prefix, root, suffix and meanings lists:

(this is the one I use most often in my own classroom)