Exploring Spelling through Morphological Awareness

Have you ever wondered why some people use the word holiday and some people say vacation?  In the UK, we tend to use the word holiday and in America, the term vacation is generally used. 

The word holiday was first used in the 1500s.  Holiday came from holy day.  Holy days were special days in the religious calendar that were set aside to be days where people didn’t need to work.

In America, the word vacation is used, and it is becoming more popular in the UK too.  This is a very interesting word which is connected to others that we may use. It is built from a root which means empty (even though our holidays are often full) and it is related to words such as vacancy and vacuum.

As we explore the word vacation, it can lead us to learning other words too and what the parts of the words (morphemes) mean.  Learning about morphemes can help us understand some strange spellings in words.  To find out the meaning of morphemes with a Greek or Latin origin, go to https://membean.com/roots .

Have a look at this word matrix.  How many words can you make from this list of prefixes, roots and suffixes?  Can you work out why each of these morphemes was used to create the word?

If you would like to try out more with your class, look at Pick and Mix Spelling.

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