In English, a prefix is some letters that added to the beginning of words to change the meaning of it. Prefixes can create an opposite (impossible), negate something (unable) or express a relation of time, place or manner (pre-war, overcook). To teach this important concept, you’ll need some of the best prefix activities.
Keep on reading for some prefixes games and activities to consider using with your students, along with worksheets, lesson plans, online practice recommendations and more.
Top 10 ESL Prefix Activities and Games
Are you ready to get into the best prefixes activities for ESL? Here they are!
#1: Prefixes Whiteboard Race
A fun activity for both kids and adults is this whiteboard race that focuses on prefixes. Students line up in two lines and the first person gets a marker at the whiteboard. Then, give a clue that lends itself to words with prefixes. For example:
- The opposite of comfortable
- The opposite of lock
- Not possible
- Not agree
The first student to write down the correct word gets a point for their team and the game continues with the next students.
#2: Prefix Concentration
A fun memory prefix game is concentration. The first thing to do is make a bunch of cards that contain opposites, or negatives on one card and then the original word on the other.
In small groups, students have to use their memory skills to play this matching game. Learn how to organize it here: ESL Concentration Game.
#3: Opposites Quiz with Prefixes
There are lot of fun activities and games for teaching ESL prefixes on YouTube. Here’s one simple quiz for opposites that use prefixes:
#4: Prefix Board Games
A simple way to have some fun while also giving your students lots of opportunities to practice with suffixes is to use some board games. They’re easy to design your own and in this case, you’d want to give clues about words that require a suffix. For example, “What is the opposite of possible?” Students would have to say impossible to stay in that spot.
With practice, it’s easy to make your own in just a few minutes. Learn how here: ESL Board Games.
#5: Prefix Dictation Practice
I love to use dictation in my classes because it’s a serious listening and writing activity. It’s kind of an overlooked activity but I find that the students enjoy it in small doses.
Make some sentences that contain prefixes and read them out loud to the students one by one. They have to write them down, using correct punctuation.
Want to try it out? You can see all the details here: ESL Dictation Activity.
#6: Is that Sentence Correct?
A nice way to review prefixes is to make a bunch of sentences on a worksheet or PowerPoint slide. Then, students have to decide if it’s correct, or not. If it’s incorrect, they have to make the required changes.
Learn more about this simple review activity for prefixes here: Sentence Correction.
#7: Prefix Activities, Songs and Chants
If you teach kids, a memorable way to teach prefixes is to use songs and chants. If you’re not musical, not to worry! That’s what YouTube is for. Check out just one song that you might want to consider using in class:
This is challenging listening activity that can be used for just about any grammar point, including prefixes. The way it works is that you have to find a passage to read to your students that contains lots of the target language, or write your own.
The, put students into pairs and read it out at a faster than normal pace. Students can take notes, and then compare what they have to try to recreate what they heard. Read it again and students can do the same thing. Finally, they can compare what they have with the original.
Learn more about this ESL prefix activity here: Dictogloss.
#9: Proofreading and Editing
Proofreading is a very important skill that’s often overlooked in many an ESL class which is why I like to spend some time working on it in mine. Make a worksheet filled with errors related to your target grammar or vocabulary.
In this case, I’d make some errors with prefixes. Some may be the wrong prefix, but I also make some errors in meaning. For example, something is opposite but the context of the sentence would show that it shouldn’t be.
Want to give it a try with your students? Find out more here about one of the best prefix activities: ESL Proofreading and Editing.
#10: Running Dictation
I’m ALL about 4-skills ESL activities and running dictation is one of the best. It’s fun, exciting and nice way to get some life back into a sleepy, tired class. In this case, find (or write) a conversation with lots of prefixes in it.
Learn more about it here: https://eslspeaking.org/esl-game-running-dictation/.
I hate to make my own worksheets! If you’re the same, I have some good news for you. There are a ton of great prefix worksheets to consider using. Here are some of the top recommendations:
Prefix ESL Lesson Plans
A huge time-saver for English teachers can be prefixes lesson plans that you can just print off and take to class. After all, why do all the hard work if other teachers have done it for you, right? Here are the best prefix lesson plans to take a look at:
Online Practice for Prefixes
If your students want some additional practice with English prefixes, here are some of the top online games and activities to recommend:
Did you like these Prefixes Activities?
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- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 87 Pages - 10/24/2019 (Publication Date)
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Keep a copy on the bookshelf in your office to use as a handy reference guide when planning lessons. Or, consider taking one with you to your favourite coffee shop for some lesson planning on the go on your phone, tablet, or laptop.
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Have your Say about these Prefix Activities
What are your thoughts about these prefix games and activities? Did you try out one of them from list or do you have another that you’d like to recommend? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear from you.
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Last update on 2021-05-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API