Improving Literacy by Teaching Morphemes

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Words consist of units of meaning, called morphemes. These morphemes have a striking effect on spelling which has been largely neglected until now. For example, nouns that end in "-ian" are words which refer to people, and so when this ending is attached to "magic" we can tell the resulting word means someone who produces magic. Knowledgeof this rule, therefore, help us with spelling: it tells us that this word is spelled as "magician" and not "magicion".

The new book by Terezinha Nunes, Peter Bryant and their colleagues shows how important and necessary it is for children find out about morphemes when they are lerning to read and spell. The book concentrates on how to teach children about the morphemic structure of words and on the beneficial effects of this teaching for children's spelling and for the breadth of their vocabulary. It reports the results of several studies in the laboratory and in school classrooms of the effects of teaching children about a wide variety of morphemes and that this learning improves their spelling and their vocabulary as well. The book, therefore, suggests new directions in the teaching of literacy. It should be read by everyone concerned with helping children to learn to read and to write.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'The book is extremely well written with excellent illustrations and will be useful to a wide audience. Students of psychology and education will find a very clear exposition of morphemes and why they are important for spelling'. - British Journal of Educational Psychology

'Although primary teachers are the main target audience for this book, I think that teachers and trainers of adult literacy would also find it instructive in terms of broadening their understanding of how we learn to spell.' - Kerry Doyle, Northbrook College of Further and Higher Education

'The book is a challenge to advocates of predominantly phonetic approaches to spelling and to those who think good spelling is simply a matter of effective memorisation. Convincing research evidence is presented from a number of schools in London and Oxford suggesting that teaching morphemes will help to overcome some of the problems associated with the lack of spelling-sound correspondence in the English language.' -

'The book presents challenging ideas and evidence pertinent to the raising of educational standards in reading, spelling, vocabulary extension and comprehension - and to the continuing professional development of teachers by acknowledging and valuing their professionalism.' - The Psychologist

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415383127
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 8/1/2006
  • Series: Improving Learning Series
  • Pages: 220
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Terezinha Nunes is Professor of Educational Studies at the University of Oxford and Fellow of Harris-Manchester College, Oxford.

Peter Bryant is Visiting Professor of Psychology at Oxford Brookes University, UK and Emeritus Fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford.

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Table of Contents

List of illustrations     ix
Series editor's preface     xiii
Acknowledgements     xv
What is the issue?     1
Morphemes and literacy: A starting point   Peter Bryant   Terezinha Nunes     3
What knowledge of morphemes do children and adults show in the way that they spell words?   Terezinha Nunes   Peter Bryant   Ursula Pretzlik   Deborah Evans   Daniel Bell   Jenny Olsson     35
What does the research tell us?     63
From the laboratory to the classroom   Peter Bryant   Terezinha Nunes   Ursula Pretzlik   Daniel Bell   Deborah Evans   Jenny Olsson     65
An intervention program for teaching children about morphemes in the classroom: Effects on spelling   Freyja Birgisdottir   Terezinha Nunes   Ursula Pretzlik   Diana Burman   Selly Gardner   Daniel Bell     104
An intervention program for classroom teaching about morphemes: Effects on the children's vocabulary   Terezinha Nunes   Peter Bryant   Ursula Pretzlik   Diana Burman   Daniel Bell   Selina Gardner     121
Can we increase teachers' awareness of morphology andhave an impact on their pupils' spelling?   Jane Hurry   Tamsin Curno   Mary Parker   Ursula Pretzlik     134
What are the overall implications?     155
Morphemes and literacy: Context and conclusions   Terezinha Nunes   Peter Bryant     157
The four research strategies in this research program   Peter Bryant   Terezinha Nunes     183
References     191
Index     195
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