The ability to spell correctly is considered important not only for
accurate written communication but as an attribute of literacy itself.
Morphology is, quite simply, what spelling should be. Traditionally, spelling is an isolate skill. Morph makes it a vocabulary/ spelling/ reading strategy because it ‘ups’ the transfer and dependability of learned information by such a great degree. Morph cannot be separated from content because it’s all about meanings. The majority of our language is derived from Latin and Greek bases and these are what comprise the Morph program. This increased understanding of language transfers to increased reading comprehension.
Unlike traditional spelling programs, morph constantly reinforces itself. It isn’t passive; it’s an active, direct instruction based program. Morph is taught to mastery. Continual check tests coupled with an expectation of success keep the retention and transfer rate high.
Students are engaged in daily, immediate self-correction. Puzzles, games and content-based activities keep Morph purposeful and meaningful to students.
Words are studied as meaningful units. Syllables are counterproductive. They frequently create nonsense morphs and do nothing to reinforce morphemic spellings and meanings. Morphs are constant; if they change, it is by dependable spelling rules that are morphologically based.
Morph teaches a few, high use, consistent rules. Non-word parts (bound morphemes – un, re, er) have the same value as words (free morphemes) so decoding truly becomes a reading comprehension strategy, not just a sound/symbol game. Learning to view bound morphemes as equal to or greater than free morphemes increases word fluency greatly. Morph is the best, most natural transition from phonetic decoding to structural analysis.
In the study of Morphology, students are not engaged in such ‘anti’ good spelling activities as scrambled words, syllabification, premarking trouble spots or finding smaller words within larger words. All of these undo the transition from decoding to meaningful, dependable word structure.
Morph takes more effort on the teacher’s part than traditional programs. Morph is not meant to be used as ‘seat work’. It requires a restructuring of thinking much as learning a second language does, but it is fun and it works. It makes learning language easier, enables students to take risks and gives them internal strategies that make them independent. Their vocabularies grow at a greatly increased rate. Morph creates an intelligent, positive atmosphere. It is amazingly empowering.
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