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We have been working with our students a great deal on a variety of strategies to define unfamiliar vocabulary terms. We taught them about context clues and most recently about Word Parts. The guided and independent practice can be found in our Vocabulary Packet and Bundle (the links are at the bottom of this description).
We have found teaching/reviewing prefixes and suffixes is useful and helpful for our students. They may not be able to completely define the unfamiliar vocabulary term, but they would at least have an idea of what the word might mean, which ultimately helps to improve overall reading comprehension. High School students take a great deal of State mandated exams along with the SATs and this has become a useful strategy for our students to review.
We like to generate posters so that you can put them up in your room and the students can have constant reminders on the commonly used prefixes and suffixes. They know where in the room the posters are hanging, so they can review them on their own time and use them as a resource when trying to define an unfamiliar vocabulary term. You can also give a copy to each student for them to keep in their binders/folders and use in all of their classes.