Academics » Morphology


Morphology is the branch of linguistics that studies word structures.  At GRACEPOINT, teachers incorporate morphology into the curriculum throughout the day for all students. Once a student has completed the scope and sequence of Orton-Gillingham, their next step is a dedicated morphology class.


… the hidden gem of GRACEPOINT School



Angie Strack, co-founder of GRACEPOINT, has been the influential backbone in incorporating morphology into the curriculum. The students are tuned in and accept this method because it makes learning fun. Nothing about GRACEPOINT is boring- they know how to engage students.


Morphology breaks down words into morphemes, the smallest units of meaning. In other words, it is the study of word parts for the purpose of interpreting meaning. Morphology helps us understand these morphemes as related to other words. Here is an example:


               morpheme/morpheme         morpheme/morpheme                morpheme/morpheme

                            ê         ê     ê      ê       ê           ê

       democracy                  autocracy                      theocracy

       people/rule                  self/rule                        God/rule


Breaking down words to their roots, suffixes, and prefixes makes understanding easier. The student no longer views a large foreign word, but instead, lots of small parts that make sense when worked out individually. Understanding a morpheme’s meaning enables the student to comprehend many words made from combinations of these elements, thus expanding vocabulary.


If a student has strong morphological awareness skills, he or she can problem-solve what these words might mean by thinking about each of the individual morphemes and then blending those meanings together to determine the word’s meaning. This skill is helpful in determining what a word means and extremely useful in such things as standardized testing such as college acceptance tests like the ACT and SAT among others.


 “Finding patterns is a strength for many Dyslexics; by teaching the patterns, we can utilize this strength to remediate weakness in spelling.” She added, “Studying morphology is a journey that gives the students the opportunity, not only to learn how words are spelled, but why they are spelled that way. It develops a deeper understanding of word meaning and empowers the students to attack vocabulary in text, as well as utilize words in their written expression. Our students truly love studying morphology, and they have become true word sleuths. They have the power to investigate words and their history, which allows vocabulary to make sense. It is exciting to see the students take words in their passive vocabulary and move them into their active vocabulary.”


GRACEPOINT incorporates Morphology into all curriculum areas during the school day for all students. Once students reach middle school, they receive more intense instruction with a full class period dedicated to Morphology.   It is a teaching skill that makes this school unique and proves to be a component that is preparing these students for success long after they’ve moved on.  


-Article by Paige Spooner