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June 17, 2016

Inflections, Prefixes & Suffixes Foldable Idea!

Inflections, Prefixes & Suffixes Foldable IdeaInflections, Prefixes & Suffixes Foldable Idea

Here is a fun way to teach children to read words with inflections, prefixes or suffixes with just one folded piece of paper!  My first and second graders really loved this project, and when we were done, ALL of them could easily read all of the three syllable words that we formed on the page!  This foldable can be adapted for more advanced or more basic concepts.  Sound like fun?  Here we go!

Inflections, Prefixes & Suffixes Foldable Idea

First, let’s start by giving credit where credit is due:  I adapted this idea from another  project that I saw in Dinah Zyke’s book, Dinah Zike’s Foldables and VKVs for Phonics, Spelling, and Vocabulary PreK-3rd.  I purchased this book after visiting Dinah’s amazing booth at a teacher conference once several years ago.  I always thought that it would be perfect for use in a primary classroom, although I didn’t use it very much in Kindergarten at that point in time for some reason.

Prefix Suffix Foldable

Prefix Suffix Foldable

The purpose of this particular project is to help kids learn to see the inflections, prefixes, and suffixes as separate chunks on the words that they can sound out separately from the root word.  If they can find those chunks and visualize them separately, then they can (hopefully!) learn to sound out the root word as a separate word first.  After that, it should be a simpler thing to add on the additional chunks.


I thought that there was little instructional value in trying to get my first and second graders to fold up the paper and cut it themselves, since that would probably take just as long as writing the words and reading them!  Plus, we would probably waste lots of paper as they work through their mistakes.  So I decided to pre-fold and cut the entire thing for them ahead of time.


Phonics and inflections foldable- so cool! #phonics #firstgrade

A photo posted by Heidi Butkus (@heidisongs) on


To prepare, just hold the paper landscape and fold it in thirds.  Then turn it portrait orientation and fold it in thirds again.  When you are done, you should have a paper with nine boxes of roughly equal size.  Then just cut on the inside folds as shown.  Do NOT cut all the way through the paper to the other side, of course!  This was my primary concern in letting the kids do the cutting themselves- that they would cut straight through the entire paper and then I would have to fold up another.  Just not worth it!  

Inflections, Prefixes & Suffixes Foldable Idea!

Inflections, Prefixes & Suffixes Foldable Idea!
In this picture, the prefix is folded behind the root word.

That’s all you need to do to prepare, other than make a list of words!  To do that, I just wrote some words lightly with pencil on one foldable, and kept erasing them until I found a few words that would “mostly” work.  I know that “overtest” and “overread” are not really words, and I did tell the kids so, but I was having some trouble coming up with enough prefixes that would work with all of the inflected endings!

#prefixes & #suffixes foldable idea! Adabtable to so many subjects! #firstgrade #secondgrade

A video posted by Heidi Butkus (@heidisongs) on


Here are the lists that I finally went with.  I hope that someone out there can help me come up with a better list for next time, LOL!

This is the list for the second graders:

Root words:  agree, able, appoint.

Inflections and suffixes:  s, ment, ing

Prefix:  dis

Inflections, Prefixes & Suffixes Foldable Idea!

Inflections, Prefixes & Suffixes Foldable Idea!

With this list, we were able to make the following words:

agree, agrees, agreeing, disagree, disagrees, disagreeing, disagreement, able, ables, abling, ablement, disable, disables, disabling, disablement, appoint, appoints, appointing, appointment, disappoint, disappoints, disappointing, disappointment.  (Of course, on “abling” and “disabling” we needed to cover up the extra letter e with our finger, but the kids got the idea!

Inflections, Prefixes & Suffixes Foldable Idea!


This is the list for the first graders:

Root words:  read, test, pay.  (By folding the booklet up, we were able to put a few more words on the back, such as “play” and “help,” that could also work with any of these beginnings or endings.)

Inflections and suffixes:  s, er, ing

Prefixes:  re, over, pre


With this list, the kids were able to make and read the following “words” (not that all of them are technically real words!”)

read, reads, reader, reading, reread, rereads, rereader, rereading, preread, prereads, prereading, prereader

test, tests, tester, testing, retest, retests, retester, retesting, pretest, pretests, pretesting, pretester

pay, pays, payer, paying, repay, repays, repayer, repaying, prepay, prepays, prepayer, prepaying

Inflections, Prefixes & Suffixes Foldable Idea!

I know that we made some other words as well by folding it backwards and “frontwards,” and that’s when we started adding the words “play” and “help!”  The kids were excited to discover the new words they could make themselves!

Inflections, Prefixes & Suffixes Foldable Idea!

I noticed that my little ones that had previously had trouble reading some of the words with inflected endings before seemed to understand it a little bit better after doing this project!  So it’s all good!

retestsInflections, Prefixes & Suffixes Foldable Idea!

repaysInflections, Prefixes & Suffixes Foldable Idea!

I think you could do the same thing with the following words:

take, mistake, mistakable, print, misprint, misprintable, understand, misunderstand, misunderstandable

Some other words to think about “playing with” are:

disconcertment, discouragement, disembarkment, disenchantment

Now it’s your turn!  Can you think of any others?  Let’s make a list!
Have fun!

– Heidi

P.S. Looking for some ideas for the coming school year? Here’s one: start the morning off with some sight word writing! I’ll put on one of my Sing and Spell DVDs, hand out some white boards or paper, and TA DA! They write as they sing along!



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