EST 200 | Module 2 – Part 3 | Convergent and Divergent thinking | Design and Engineering | KTU
EST 200 | Module 2 – Part 3 | Convergent and Divergent thinking | Design and Engineering | KTU


To read well, students need to learn:

  • alphabet decoding: including phonological awareness skills such as letter-sound links and how to blend speech sounds together to make words;
  • fluent word reading: including gaining access to the meaning of words directly from the spelling without needing to decode them phonically, including through experience, morphological awareness and motivated reading; and
  • text comprehension, including by increasing vocabulary, background knowledge, semantic networks, inference-making skills, higher level language skills, comprehension monitoring skills, sentence processing, and knowledge of text types, such as story grammar (Castles et al., 2018).

A growing body of research suggests we can help struggling readers with “morphological awareness training” (e.g. McLeod & Apel, 2015; Bowers et al., 2010). Morphological awareness is the skill of consciously thinking about and manipulating morphemes (McLeod & Apel, 2015).

Morphemes include:

  • bases (e.g. “speak”); and
  • add-on bits (aka affixes), including prefixes (e.g. “un-”) and suffixes (e.g. “-able”).

So, for example, the word “unspeakable” is made up of three morphemes: un-speak-able.


In this resource, we include some of the most common English words ending in the suffix -able, as well as common academic words ending in -able that are used across subjects at school.

It contains 10 activities designed to teach and consolidate this knowledge. Activities include:

  • Definition and etymology of the suffix -able, for comprehension and spelling.
  • A “procedural learning” writing activity.
  • Auditory bombardment: listening to -able words in sentence context.
  • Word highlighting activity: spotting the suffix in sentences.
  • Rewriting exercise using -able words to replace other phrases.
  • Sentence formulation exercise with semantic constraints: making original sentences using -able.
  • Divergent naming exercise: creative thinking using words with -able.
  • Two verbal reasoning and persuasive writing exercises: generating pros and cons for -able words.
  • Story-making or creative writing exercise with -able words.

Fully scripted, the module is is suitable for one-to-one, small group and whole class instruction; and can be downloaded in PDF and Google Slides format.


The activities in these resources are suitable for typically developing students in Year 4 and above. They are also suitable for gifted younger students, and older students with language, learning, reading and/or writing difficulties.

For more evidence-based information about morphological awareness training, read our article “What else helps struggling readers: the evidence for morphological awareness training“.

If you’re looking for resources about prefixes, see our fully-scripted teaching resources for the 9 most common prefixes in English here.

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